I have lived in California since 2004, and will admit I had never visited or heard of a small oceanside town called Pacifica until just last month. I was invited on a press trip to check out the little place just 15 minutes south (by car) of San Francisco along with a few other travel writers, podcasters and bloggers.
Quite frankly, once I experienced staying, eating, running, hiking, and basically existing in Pacifica, I felt like i had been let in on a very well-kept secret. I was shocked I had never been there before. I was spooked that it wasn’t more crowded with tourists, but at the same time that’s what I loved about it. I treasured the uncrowded (other than locals) feel to the town. It’s just a day-in, day-out beach town with incredible morning waves for surfers and a small, but great night life for anyone and all to enjoy.
I fled to Pacifica the last week of October when a work event I had organized in San Francisco felt OK enough to leave to coworkers. I escaped just in time to a media dinner at Nick’s Restaurant, an unapologetic old school joint that sits (incredibly enough) right on the oceanfront. I chose the special of the evening, which was tilapia served with butter beans, arugula, and a brown butter sauce and tried several other menu offerings along with other media and influencers seated around our table. I took several photos of the food we enjoyed and I present them to you below (beginning with that mouth-watering tilapia special!):
After introductions and multiple bottles of wine, our group walked over to A Grape in the Fog for even more wine, tarot card readings, and this fantastic cheese plate.
The next day I met up with about half of our travel group to hike along the California coastal trail segment of Pacifica led by Pacifica Beach Coalition’s Lynn Adams, and local trail advocate (and major Creedence Clearwater Revival fan) Jim Sullivan. Along with taking in some really beautiful sights along the hike, we learned the trail doesn’t groom itself and there are several volunteers who give their time to help clear the trail and plant flowers along the path for others to enjoy. There are also beach cleanups that take place on a monthly basis.
After working up an appetite, our group caravanned to the Little Brown Church/Pacifica Coastside Museum for a Pacifica Jack Cheese and Rosalind Bakery bread tasting, washed down with vodka, absinthe, rum, and gin samples from local alcoholic beverage producer, Tripp Distillery.
Pacifica Jack? Yes, according to a historian at the museum, we learned that the recipe for Jack cheese came from Italy straight to Pacifica by way of a man named Stefano Mori. The cheese recipe was allegedly stolen by an employee of the Moris, and taken down to Monterey (to the Jacks Ranch). From there the cheese began being produced commercially and called… can you guess? That’s right! Monterey Jack. Don’t believe it? Well, there is indeed corroborating evidence of Jacks’ theft in the book “Roadside History of California” by Ruth Pittman. Recently, a woman by the name of Kathleen Manning decided to put the Pacifica back in Jack cheese, and went on a mission to track down the original recipe by Stefano Mori. Along with the recipe, she also found a cheesemaker to produce the cheese, and it is currently available to taste and purchase at the Pacifica Coastside Museum.
Not being one to normally indulge in bread, I couldn’t help but wolf down a few pieces of the spongy, brown, baked goodness, speckled with walnuts, that was provided to our tour group by Rosalind Bakery. At the other end of the sampling table, we were introduced to Jason Tripp, of Tripp Distillery (also located in Pacifica). Tripp Distillery is open to the public and often invites various food trucks for their customers to buy food to enjoy with their products. If you visit, look for their original red (as in the color red) vodka (if it isn’t already sold out). You can follow them on Facebook to be notified of special events at the distillery.
Our Friday evening culminated with an appetizer reception and tour of Sam’s Castle (a properly that lived former lives as a Prohibition-era speakeasy, an underground abortion clinic, and a World War II Coast Guard Station, before it was purchased in 1959 by Sam Mazza). The castle tour was all the more interesting because every single room was decorated for Halloween.
I was delighted by the attention to detail and all the spooky props on display. We enjoyed beverages provided by A Grape in the Fog (wine) and (brews from) Pedro Point Brewery. It was real Pacifica trick-or-treating in the dining area with delights from Tam’s Cuisine of China, the Moonraker, Rosalind Bakery, and desserts from the French Patisserie and Shampa’s Pies.
We also took turns sitting on the crimson red velvet throne in one of the castle’s main rooms. I left feeling so lucky to be asked/included on these types of media events and how being a travel writer has opened up so many unique opportunities.
Our lodging in Pacifica was provided by the Lighthouse Hotel. The hotel sits right on the ocean (located in Rockaway Beach Plaza) and many of the rooms offer views of the beach and the mesmerizing waves. It was very clean and comfortable, and I would definitely stay there again. Important information for wine writers: There is FREE wi-fi and there is a refrigerator in your room. Below is a picture of the view from my room!
Ah, Pacifica… a not-overly-crowded charming little town right on the ocean with great eats and friendly locals (and even a golf course)! If you’ve never been to Pacifica, I urge you to check it out. It’s so close to San Francisco and perfect for a mini-vacation by the sea!
This Pacifica Media Familiarization Tour would not have been possible without Mortgage Loan Specialist Darlene Gonzalez and public relations guru Molly Blaisdell. Thank you, ladies! Disclosure: I was invited on this trip at no charge to write about the area, giving my own impressions and opinions.
A few months ago, I visited Scottsdale, Arizona during the National Alopecia Areata Foundation’s Annual Conference. Typically when I travel, my trips become more about the food and wine available at my destination than the main reason for the trip, so I do more research on places to eat/drink than I do on anything else! Since my hotel room at the Gainey Suites Hotel was equipped with a full kitchen, I planned to get groceries and make my own dinner for the first evening. Then on the second evening of my stay, I would dine out. Since I had never been to Scottsdale before, this would require some web surfing on some of my trusted travel sites.
I stumbled upon Starlite BBQ and Whiskey Bar after only searching for a few moments. Since opening last year, Starlite BBQ has been named one of the Seven Metro Phoenix Restaurants you Need to Try Right Now by the Phoenix New Times, as well as one of the 11 Best New Restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona (area) by Eater.com. Starlite BBQ was also selected as an 2018 OpenTable Diners’ Choice Winner. This would be the place for Friday night’s dinner for sure!
So on Friday evening, after a short Uber ride, I ended up in a shopping center where Starlite BBQ resides. It sits prominently on the edge of the center, complete a facade decked out with hip white font lettering that can’t be missed. There is an outdoor seating area, but during my visit it was over 100 degrees, so I opted to sit inside and people watch as the filled up the place for dinner.
I sat at a small table against the wall, facing an already lively bar scene and two televisions broadcasting different sporting events–one of them a Diamondbacks game. Across from me on the table was a selection of house-made sauces. I was eager to try them all, but stopped short of squirting the bottles directly into my mouth. First, I selected a beverage to nurse while I contemplated what to eat.
Prosecco was the perfect drink for an opening act. Starlite also has a specialty cocktail menu featuring many whiskey-based drinks, as well as four rotating handles of beer on draft, an ample selection of bottled and canned beer, and a nice list of wines available by the glass or bottle.
While I was selecting my entree, this skillet of cornbread topped with an enormous dollop of melty honey butter appeared on my table. Now this is something I don’t normally eat, but it was really calling my name. The cornbread was still warm, both sweet and savory, and I still remember its delightful texture (just enough crumb without being too dry) even three months later! I’m not exaggerating when I said it was one of the best cornbreads I have ever had.
The Grilled Cauliflower (with Green Goddess, Crispy Black Eyed Peas, Arugula, Pickled Onions) dish really caught my eye (I saw it served to another table as I was about to order), so I snagged one for myself. The dish’s flavor was expertly balanced by the sweet and sour of the dressing (and just enough of it without making the dish soggy), the char on the cauliflower, the crunchy texture of the black eye peas and the peppery arugula.
For the main course, I selected the 1/2 plate of Chopped Pork. It comes with pickled onions and mustard on the side. I ordered a glass of rosé to pair with the pork. I could have gone a little heavier on the wine, especially because of the sauce on the meat, but in the heat of summer, I am hardwired to order bubbles or rose, no matter what the protein or the “traditional” pairing.
I guess you could say I ordered these potatoes for “dessert” and an excuse to try one more dish. Crispy little potato nuggets. This is where the aforementioned BBQ sauces come in. I tried them all on the potatoes and it turns out the middle “Starlite BBQ” is my favorite. I wish my husband had been with me so I could have sampled a little bit more of the menu items. Instead, I was already taking half of the meal back to the hotel in boxes, which was great because it made for the next night’s dinner. In other words, the portions are large and perfect for sharing.
Also good to know: Starlite BBQ supports local organizations and uses local vendors, such as Arizona Beef, organic produce from McClendon’s Farm, fresh breads daily from MJ Bread, and local pecan and mesquite woods to smoke their meats.
Starlite BBQ and Whiskey Bar is located at 7620 E Indian School Road Suite 101, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. You can contact them at 480-553-9330.
They are closed on Monday and Tuesday, and open Wednesday and Thursday from 4pm-11pm, on Friday from 4pm-midnight. They are also open on Saturday for Brunch and Regular Menu 10am-midnight and on Sunday for Brunch and Regular Menu 10am-10pm. The bar is open until 12 Midnight on Wednesday and Thursday, until 2 AM Friday and Saturday and 12 Midnight on Sunday.
Disclosure: My meal was complimentary in exchange for social media exposure and this blog post, however my opinions are all my own.
Sacramento is a food lover’s paradise this time of year and there are two upcoming events I’d like to tell you about happening this month. Special thanks to The Grid Agency for passing along the information to me!
The first event is called A Taste of New Sacramento in Old Sacramento. It will take place on Sunday, October 9, 2016 from 11:00 AM-4:00 PM at the Delta King Hotel.
Wineries including: Cate Ao Vinho, Lone Buffalo Vineyards, Boeger Winery, Fiddletown Winery, Lava Cap Winery, Van Ruiten Family Winery, J and K Estate Wines, Haraszthy Winery, Merlo Family Vineyards, Cabana Winery, Carvalho Family Winery, Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Bogle Vineyards and Winery. Jeff Runquist Wines, Van Ruiten Winery
And restaurants present will be: Roxie Deli & Barbeque, Sactown Bar and Grill, Ten 22, Indo Cafe, Vallejo’s Restaurant, Bingo B.B.Q, Kupros, Cabana Winery & Bistro, Shady Lady Saloon, Blue Prynt Restaurant, Coin-Op Game Room, Dad’s Kitchen, and Drewski’s.
Proceeds benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children. Featuring a live adoption run by Front Street Animal Shelter. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased here.
But, wait, there’s more….
The weekend after that, Smoke on the River rolls into town on Saturday, October 15th, 2016 from 1pm to 5pm at 2700 Marina View.
The event is hosted by Sacramento Artists Council, Inc. with its friend and sponsor The Grid Agency. Smoke on the River is a fundraiser for Sacramento Artists Council and will raise money for art programs that assist at-risk children, children of homeless families and fund adopt a school art programs for Sacramento Regional Schools.
Smoke on the River is a state championship and Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned event. The event will feature a People’s Choice BBQ award and tastings, People’s Choice award for Best Beer and Best Cider, live entertainment from Swimming in Bengal and Sacramento Jazz Project, and beer tastings provide by local breweries.
There will also be a corn hole tournament at the event with prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
Full Access Pre-sale Tickets including unlimited tastes of BBQ and Craft Beer/Cider are $35 + 2.75% convenience fee and $40 with a 2.75% convenience fee for credit cards at the door. You can purchase and see other ticket options here.
Featured breweries will be:
Sierra Nevada Brewing
Firestone Walker Brewing
Dust Bowl Brewing
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Device Brewing Company
Track 7 Brewing
Mike Hess Brewing
UP IN SMOKE
Too Ashamed to Name BBQ
Bones Sauce n Harmony
The Smoking’ GrOVENators
Old Chico BBQ
Ric’s Righteous Ribs
Papa Bobs Backyard BBQ
Smokin Slabz BBQ
Big Poppa Smokers
Bones N Brews BBQ
Five Hundy BBQ
The Smoking J’s
Smokey Luv BBQ
Canyon Riders BBQ
2 Rolling Bones
Fat Dad’s Barbeque
Hickory and Spice BBQ
Smokin’ the 916
Smokey Valley Q
Ed’s Smoked Out BBQ
Smokin Fatboyz BBQ
Daddy O’s Smokin’ BBQ
Pipin’ Hot Smokers
The Brothers Throwdown
Git R Smoked
Big O and MO BBQ
J&J Smokin BBQ
Son of Smoke
G & Pops BBQ
Sacramento Hotel Association Fundraiser Farm-to-Fork Fall Fundraiser set for September 29th at Hyatt Regency Sacramento
The Board of Directors of the Sacramento Hotel Association is proud to announce that the Association is expanding its community service activities with a new fundraiser as part of its program: The Hospitality Industry Helping in the Community. For 2016, the new fall fundraiser—set for September 29 at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento—will benefit two local organizations that work with youth in our community.
• Festive Farm-to-Fork Food Stations from local hotels and restaurants
• Craft Beer Tastings from local brewers
• Wine Tastings from area vintners
• Silent Auction of delightful gifts and prize packages
• Musical Entertainment
Tickets—$35 plus processing fee per person Buy your tickets HERE.
About the Beneficiary Organizations
SkateMD is a nonprofit with a mission to heal hearts by spreading kindness and skateboarding to special populations of children facing developmental, physical, emotional or family challenges. SkateMD serves special populations of children who may not otherwise be able to pursue skateboarding, who may not have easy access to skateboard equipment or facilities, and/or who just need some extra kindness in their lives.
Sacramento Sheriff’s Toy Project functions as the charitable arm of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Toy Project is a year-round program supporting the less fortunate children and families in the Sacramento area. They support area schools with after-school programs, school supplies, computers, clothing, shoes, jackets, bikes for transportation, summer kid’s camps and support scholarships for college-bound students.
Andy and I will be there to cover the event, so I hope to see you there!
It was a tasty scene for fans of food, wine, beer and spirits August 25 – 28, 2016 at Eat Drink SF. The event was held at Fort Mason in San Francisco.
Andy and I attended on the last day of the event on a Sunday afternoon and were introduced to some restaurants we had never tried, as well as a few new wines. There were also some familiar vendors, as Sunday was the “Legacy Grand Tasting” featuring San Francisco eateries that have stood the test of time.
Almost immediately after we arrived, we heard about a “beverage classroom” presented by San Francisco Wine School. The first presentation was on the Wines of Portugal. It was officially titled ViniPortugal. Since we are always looking to broaden our knowledge of wine, we decided to sit in on the seminar & tasting.
It was led by the founder of San Francisco Wine School, David Glancy. Glancy is one of only twelve people in the world to hold both the revered Master Sommelier diploma and a Certified Wine Educator credential.
The tasting was a very worthwhile experience, and a chance to get to know a little bit more on the wines of Portugal as well as a little bit about the San Francisco Wine School, which currently offers 65 different wine education classes.
Of course, we were also there to eat. Some of my favorite bites were as follows:
Nectarines wrapped in speck from Tosca Cafe.
A caprese salad on a stick.
This Lahmbiajeen (Arabic for “Meat in Dough”) It is fresh baked flatbread with housemade tomato beef sauce, labneh parsley and lemon zest from Reem’s.
And my food favorite item was this pintxo from Teleferic Barcelona. Pintxo is a Basque word that means “skewer.” This particular pintxo is called a Torito (bull). It has xistorra (spanish chorizo), natural honey and manchego cheese and it is wrapped in puff pastry with dulce de leche.
This smoked salmon bite was Scoma’s featured dish, and a favorite of Andy’s.
Now, back to drinking. There was much to choose from. We didn’t taste any beer, but if you are a beer or cider lover, Stella Artois, Stella Artois Cidre (that IS how it is spelled), and Gowan’s Heirloom Cider had you covered.
One of the beverage highlights for me was this Whispering Angel Rose made primarily from Grenache, Vermentino, and Cinsault. A big reason I am a rose fan is because it is a wine that can pair with many different kinds of food.
Beaulieu Vineyards was at the event pouring both their classic Tapestry (a Bordeaux blend) and the Georges De Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a treat to taste these wines, because we know their retail value. Tapestry is around $50 and the Georges De Latour is around $100 per bottle. I actually buy Andy a bottle of the Tapestry as one of his Christmas gifts every year.
There were also cocktails featured at Eat Drink SF, and my favorite was this one at the Hangar Vodka booth. It is a combination of grapefruit, elderflower, sage and sparkling wine.
I love the inspiration I get at tasting events like these and the enthusiasm I see from all the chefs, sous chefs, cooks, bartenders, and tasting room associates. It’s a joy to have another excuse to come into the city and visit Fort Mason and drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. I only wished we could stay a little longer!
Eat Drink SF supports the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation. The foundation grants financial scholarships to students from the Bay Area entering culinary and hospitality programs. Golden Gate Restaurant Association‘s mission is to celebrate and empower the restaurant community through advocacy, education, marketing, events and training.
To see more images from the event, you can head over to their Flickr page here.
A few weeks ago Andy and I checked out some new menu items and gluten free options available at Yard House in Roseville. You might remember my visit to Yard House shortly after they opened back in 2011. We kicked off our meal with this round of drinks. On the left is a glass of Zardetto Prosecco (sparkling wine is my go-to opener) and on the right is a glass of Honig Sauvignon Blanc.
Then it was on to decide what to order. If you are reading this website, you are either eating a gluten-free diet, or you are thinking about eating gluten-free. Yard House makes it easy because there is a separate menu you can ask for when you are seated. The menu features many of items from appetizers to salads and burgers that can be served wrapped in lettuce instead of on a bun, as well as three different gluten-sensitive beers.
Our first appetizer was the Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Ripped Potatoes (served with Malt Vinegar Aioli). It’s featured on the “snack” portion of the menu, but can easily be shared if you are going to be ordering an entrée, too. The dish’s description was accurate as both items were very crispy, yet soft on the inside. The vegetables were highlighted by just the right amount of seasoning and were dressed with the Malt Vinegar Aioli.
For our second appetizer, we decided to try a new menu item (though it is not on the gluten-free menu), the Poke Nachos made with marinated raw ahi, avocado, cilantro, serranos, green onions, nori, sesame seeds, sweet soy, sriracha aioli, white truffle sauce, and crispy wontons. This plate is one of several you can get that features ahi tuna. I like this one not only because it is very shareable, but because it highlights the ahi by merging ingredients that are both used in Asian and Latin cuisine. The combination of the different textures and flavors is delightful.
What is not delightful is an empty glass, so Andy and I revisited the drink menu and ordered another round. I was curious about the Fresh and Skinny™ Cocktail choices, so I ordered a Skinny Margarita with El Jimador silver tequila and fresh lime. Other drinks on the Fresh and Skinny™ menu are the Pure Cosmo Martini, the Lite Lemon Drop Martini, the Juniper Fusion, and the Citrus Crush. For more information on the Fresh and Skinny™ Cocktail Menu you can click here. Andy ordered another glass of wine, this time a glass of Meiomi Pinot Noir.
For my entree, I chose the Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad (from the Gluten-Sensitive menu) composed of greens, kale, tomatoes, edamame, carrots, radish, egg, blue cheese, corn, bacon, avocado, ranch. I usually get dressing on the side when I order a Cobb Salad because there is so much flavor (fat IS flavor!) from the blue cheese, egg, avocado and bacon, I don’t need to cover anything up with dressing. I love simple and fresh ingredients and this salad certainly fit that description.
For dessert, we enjoyed two more glasses of wine, mine a glass of Protocolo Rose Tierra de Castilla (a Spanish Rosé made from 50% Tempranillo and 50% Bobal. Andy ordered the Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon produced by Michael David Winery (Lodi).
Another healthy menu and gluten-free option we did not try, but was recently added is the Red Quinoa Salad Bowl, which Chef Jocson describes as the greatest hits of all super foods. The salad is a nice shareable dish or can be an entrée for one with a garden of kale, parsley, Brussels sprouts, roasted beets, cauliflower, pomegranate seeds, blueberries, baby tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and feta cheese. Guests can request that the cheese be removed for a vegan option. Carnivores can choose to add chicken or steak for a heartier meal.
“In order to stay relevant menus have to evolve,” added Chef Jocson. “Five years ago no one would have imagined blueberry ketchup, but it’s an amazing condiment for our Kurobuta Pork Burger and ours is made in-house. These days offering vegan and vegetarian selections aren’t an option, but a necessity as more people reevaluate their diets and intake. We already have several of such items, including our new Vegan Burger, as well as gluten-sensitive options.”
If you’re reading this blog post, Yard House will have already debuted its new menu items at all 65 locations. Open daily for lunch, dinner and late-night dining, Yard House offers one of the largest selections of beers on tap plus a creative list of cocktails and wine by the bottle or glass.
On September 27 at 4 pm, a dinner coordinated by the California Pear Advisory Board will take place on the historically-named Dead Horse Island Bridge on the Delta near the community of Walnut Grove. Attendees will mingle with other guests and local California pear farmers while enjoying a scenic view in the heart of one of the largest pear-growing regions in California.
The event will include locally-raised meats, Delta-grown crops such as corn, tomatoes, endive, and, of course pears. The dinner will be catered by Giusti’s Place, a great local restaurant located next to the bridge. An appetizer and cocktail from the Farm-to-Fork Pear Recipe Contest that was held in August will be featured: Grilled Pear Bruschetta from Taste Restaurant and Jay Yoon with Dawson’s Steakhouse at the Hyatt will be serving his House Pressed Bosc Pear Martini (shown below). Delta area wines and local beers will also be served.
Each person will be allowed to reserve no more than four tickets at a price of $125 each. To reserve tickets, please send an e-mail to the California Pear Advisory Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note the event is for people over the age of 21.
The California Pear Advisory Board is a non-profit organization made up of farmers who grow pears in California. The cost of Pear Bridge Dinner tickets is meant to cover expenses only. Any money remaining after costs are covered will be donated to a local charity.
If you’d like to try some special pear dishes at local restaurants you can CLICK HERE to find out what’s being served and where.
Well, Andy and I made it back home after spending Thanksgiving in Ixtapa Guerrero, Mexico. It was the most relaxing, fun, and romantic vacation I have ever experienced. 🙂 I will post some pictures on here in the next week to let you in on some of the food we had and to show you how beautiful of a place Ixtapa is. 🙂 My heart and soul have been enriched forever and I can’t wait to go back.
We got back just in time to attend a preview party for the new Total Wine & More in Folsom, which opens today. We sipped sparkling wine from Mumm Napa, and tried other 15-20 different wines that will be available for purchase in the store–including a great deal of wines from Sobon Estates. Paul Sobon (the winemaker) was there pouring a few different zinfandels and a barbera (a personal favorite of mine) from the family portfolio. We snacked on food catered by Randy Peters Catering. I’d like to thank Total Wine & More for the invitation and include the press release (below) that was sent to me to give you a little bit more information on the store.
PS: Today’s opening will include live music, tastings and more! The official ribbon cutting will be on December 6th from 6-7pm.
Total Wine & More, America’s largest independent retailer of fine wine, spirits and beer, has announced that it is expanding its presence in the Greater Sacramento area with a new location in Folsom, Calif., which is expected to open on November 29
“Our newest investment in the Sacramento community will benefit our customers, as well as the overall community,” says David Trone, who co-owns Total Wine & More with his brother Robert Trone. “Our expansion into Folsom will bring an estimated 50 jobs to the community, while also creating a thriving business which will generate retail sales tax that can bring additional city services to residents.”
Total Wine & More, which is known for its large selection and competitive prices, offers more than 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beers in each of its superstores, including hard-to-find labels and locally produced product.
“The key to our success lies in our basic principles: we provide our customers with an unbelievable selection, at market-leading prices,” explains Trone. “From wine connoisseurs seeking rare finds to complete their vintage collection, to beer aficionados who enjoy building their own six-packs with hard-to-find micro-brews, Total Wine & More is dedicated to providing customers with exactly what they seek, at the most competitive prices in the market.”
Trone notes that in addition to selection and price, Total Wine & More is also committed to creating an unparalleled retail experience for its shoppers. The retailer delivers on this promise through unique staff training programs and state-of-the-art in-store technologies.
“When you walk into our stores, there is a wow factor that is undeniable,” he says. “Customers are impressed with the bright, beautiful appearance of each store, and we build on this by also offering our shoppers the most well-trained staff in the industry, as well as the latest tools and technologies to help enhance their visit to our stores.”
Staff training is a cornerstone of the Total Wine & More business platform, and each member of the Total Wine & More sales team is trained for 150 hours prior to working in the stores, including education on various regions, production methods, varietals, brew styles, and tasting analysis.
The company also offers its employees continuous training throughout their career, including the opportunity to meet with the world’s key wine, beer and spirits producers. Every year, Total Wine treats select team members to a trip to California’s major wine regions for a week-long training session, as well as a two-week trip to Europe’s key wine regions every other year, to increase their knowledge of various products.
“A knowledgeable team can mean the difference between a good experience and a great one. Through our industry-leading training programs, Total Wine & More’s sales team members are equipped to always deliver a great experience to our customers,” says Trone.
Another area of focus for Total Wine & More is the delivery of a state-of-the-art retail environment, and the company delivers on this promise through its new, “next-generation” in-store technologies. The new Folsom store will feature many of these new technologies, which will allow customers to become more engaged with the products and increase their knowledge of many different wines, beers and spirits, according to Trone.
“Next-generation” features in the Folsom store will include:
- A state-of-the-art tasting bar where customers can treat their palates to tastes of various wines, beers and spirits while learning about the background of each beverage.
- In-store iPads equipped with a proprietary app which provides recommendations on specific beverages to pair with various meals.
- Flat panel screens throughout the store that stream video content on vintners, their wineries and how various wines are made.
- An updated education center, which will be used to host classes on various types of wines, beers and spirits throughout each month. The state-of-the-art education center is also available to be booked for use by local non-profits and businesses at no charge.
The Folsom store will be the 88th location for Total Wine & More, and its 11th California location. The new store is located at 2765 E. Bidwell St. Folsom, Calif., a former Borders location.
Total Wine & More’s vast selection of products, combined with low everyday prices and expertly trained wine associates, brings a unique shopping experience to the customer. Total Wine & More has the distinction of being Beverage Dynamic’s 2008 Wine Retailer of the Year, Market Watch’s 2006 Retailer of the Year, and Wine Enthusiast’s 2004 Retailer of the Year. Since opening its first store in 1991, Total Wine & More has been committed to being the premier wine retailer in every community that it serves. More information and stores locations are available at www.totalwine.com
The Fresh Market opened their 127th store yesterday, October 24th in Roseville, CA. They are located on Douglas Boulevard (in Rocky Ridge Town Center) inside a former Borders bookstore.
I was invited to a media preview on October 23rd to check out the store, meet some The Fresh Market team members, and taste some of the items available for sale at The Fresh Market. My photographer, contributing writer, taste tester, companion, and all around good guy Andy, was there with me to sample, chat up the wine buyer, and to win the raffle for a giant gift basket!
A little background on The Fresh Market: Their first store opened on March 5th, 1982 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ray and Beverly (the store’s founders) wanted to bring their customers high quality foods and premium customer service in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
In the last 20 years, The Fresh Market has grown leaps and bounds. It has locations in 24 states and Roseville, has the privilege of being their first store in California.
The Fresh Market prides itself on a few key points in its business model. First, they want to provide a unique shopping experience. Second, they want to display excellent customer service. Then, the store focuses on quality and selection of products along with a strong support of local growers. Also, The Fresh Market provides their own line/brand of high quality products through private label selection.
We were lucky enough to taste test some Hereford Beef with a blue cheese and red wine reduction. 🙂
Each store has a full service meat counter offering all-natural antibiotic free chicken, aged beef, lamb, veal, and pork. These meats are cut and ground daily.
In the produce department, they offer over 400 produce items, several of them organic and many of them locally sourced.
The bakery department produces over 30 kinds of freshly baked bread and numerous dessert selections including pies, cakes, cookies, and pastries.
The deli emulates a European-style delicatessen and features TFM branded deli meats and over 200 varieties of imported and domestic cheeses, prepared salads, and sides. The Fresh Market also sells several items in its bulk section such as nuts, trail mixes, coffee, along with many other items.
I am told the Roseville store will partner with the Placer County Food Bank and provide regular donations of food, as well as feature local and regional products from Roseville-area growers and producers.
Special features at The Fresh Market I noticed during our tour are:
- A create your own salad bar for $7.99/lb.
- An olive oil station will bottles for refill. They also have a balsamic vinegar station, as well as freshly ground peanut and almond butters.
- A hot foods bar featuring Indian food by San Francisco-based Sukhi’s.
- A create-your-own 6 pack beer for $8.99.
I was impressed with the wine section. It’s small, but has a perfect bottle for everyone. They carry many local wines such as Boeger, Sobon, and Lava Cap. All greatest hits in my opinion!
You can join The Fresh Market for their “Taste of the Holidays” event on Friday, November 2nd from 12-6pm and Saturday, November 3rd from 11am-5pm. You’ll be able to try holiday meal items and be able to pre-order any items for your special holiday meal!
Some of the items available for tasting will include standing rib roast, shrimp cocktail, Nueske’s bacon, smoked salmon, seafood dips, french rounds, TFM apple juice with mulling spices, TFH cheese straws, holiday pies straight from TFM bakery, cheesecakes, turkey and sides from the deli, and there will even be some wine tastings.
For more information, you can go to http://thefreshmarket.com/holiday
Specials for The Fresh Market valid until October 30th include Half or Whole Hereford NY Strip pictured above!! for $5.99/lb, Wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon for $11.99/lb!
Right before RB and I take off for Napa again this year!! <—excited!! :), We’ll be attending the Christian Brothers Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza on September 7th from 7pm-10pm at the Christian Brothers Campus. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the event.
The Christian Brothers Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza is the premiere food and drink event in Sacramento. It features hundreds of California’s finest restaurants and wineries, and showcases the best of local breweries throughout the state. The Christian Brothers Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza has raised millions of dollars to put towards tuition funding and community outreach programs throughout the area.
Featured wineries and breweries at the event will be:
August Anthony Vineyard, Berryessa Gap Vineyards, Bogle Winery, Brother Timothy Mont La Salle Vineyard Estate, Cannonball Wine Company, Cartlidge and Brown, Carvalho Family Winery, Columbia Crest Wines, Corralitos Wine Company, Girard Winery, Greystone Wines, Harbison Wines, Harney Lane Winery, Jeremy Wine Company, Josh Cellars, Klinker Brick Wines, Line 39McConnell Estates, Madrona Vineyards, Mumm Napa, Michael-David Winery, Moniz Wines, Oakstone Winery, Pacific Wine and Spirits, Padis Vineyards, Pedroncelli Winery, Peirano Wines, Rodney Strong, Revolution Wines, Rombauer Vineyards, Scheid Winery, Schug Winery, Scribner Bend, Scott Harvey Wines, Senders – Wine with a Cause, Stama Winery, Terra d’Oro Winery, Thorny Rose Wines, Troubadour Cellars, Wente Vineyards, Wreckless Blenders, and ZD Wines
Auburn Alehouse, Firestone Walker, Guinness, Hoppy Brewing, Knee Deep Brewing, Lockdown Brewing, Lost Coast Brewery, Mendocino Brewing Company, Miller-Coors, New Belgium Brewing, Pyramid Alehouse, Rubicon, Ruhstaller, Sierra Nevada, The Shack, Sutter Buttes Brewing, Track 7 Brewing, Two Rivers Cider Company
Through the proceeds from this event last year, the alumni association was able to net over ninety thousand dollars, which went to the school’s tuition assistance program.
Due to the generous efforts of our sponsors and vendors, along with the hard work of the Alumni Board and volunteers, students who would not have been able to attend Christian Brothers High School were able to do so.
Please mark Friday, September 7, 2012 on your calendar and plan on joining us for what promises to be another fantastic event.
You can follow Christian Brothers Wine Beer & Food Extravaganza on twitter here. Cheers! 🙂