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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.
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Posted: August 24, 2008
Napa is wonderful anytime of year…I had the good fortune a year ago to spend a long weekend in Napa…to not only see the vineyards and taste some great wine, but to see a one man art show featuring John S. Kornfeld at the Robert Mondavi vineyards.
But first…someplace to stay! Accommodations were arranged at the Yountville Inn in Napa Valley( www.yountvilleinn.com ). Gracious…comfortable and accented with lots of natural wood, beams and stone…the Yountville Inn makes you feel instantly comfortable. Three nights in an oversized mini suite with a fireplace and a spa styled bathroom left me a bit in awe at how comfortable the décor and amenities were. While it was summer …nights do get cool and if you are feeling indulgent, you can also air condition the room a little just so you can use it (Not that I would ever waste the energy!)
To make me feel even more special, the public lounge just off the check in area featured a wine tasting the afternoon I checked in. What a nice thing to start my first evening off with…an in-house wine event. The hostess was fun and informed. The featured wines were from Hendricks Wines…featuring “hope and grace” wines. Charles Hendricks is described as, “Winemaker Paraclete: An encourager, a messenger, an assistant, a guide”.
A consultant to vineyards, he has now shifted his focus to the line of “hope and grace” wines. We sampled a 2005 Chardonnay, 2004 Pinot Noir, 2004 Malbec and a 2004 Cabernet, all under the “hope and grace” label. Productions are limited and the the bottles ranged form 26.00 to 60.00 a bottle in price. Well the hostess was congenial and it came down to me and a nice couple sampling till the bitter end! She offered us all the opened bottles to take home..I let them take the one we both favored, the 60.00 Malbec, but I ended up with a Chardonnay and a Cabernet. Not a bad score and all for free! Check them out at www.hopeandgracewines.com
Napa has a certain sense of style….its own California interpretation of enjoyment, taste and architecture, but that has all changed with the Castello di Amorosa. Modeled after an old world castle, the vineyard offers a unique view into the past. The wine tastings were passable as I recall, but the unique feature was the authenticism about the reproduction castle in Napa. Right down to a large Norway rat running across one of the castle corridors! Did someone actually cue him..like a movie background extra…”Go Now”?? Our tour group got a kick out of that sight. Overall the tour was well worth it….conducted by their then new head of marketing, showing the ropes to one of the new doecents.
Another added surprise for me to this extended Napa weekend was an invitation to a private reception for the featured artisit. Held at the private home of a doyenne of Napa, it was an amazing experience to be at a wine recption and cocktail party overlooking vast acres of vineyards
with the mountians framing them in the background. I had missed that day one of the premiere “Sparkling Wineries” tours, but the owner appeared at the reception carrying several bottles of her version of “champagne” and I was priviledged to sample some first hand and engage in dialouge on her personal history . The cast of characters at the event also included a young couple…he a winemaker of a competing wine Valley (Sonoma) and of Roessler vineyards. The Roessler web site lists his view of their wines. “ In the cellar, we employ winemaking techniques that can be characterized as "Old World" in style, with a minimum of intervention. This allows all of the hard work in the vineyard to shine through and creates a classic backdrop for the nuances and characters derived from the variety of soils, clones, and climates.
We hope that you will take as much pleasure as we do in exploring different regions and vineyards through enjoying our Pinots and Chards!
All the best,
The significant other with him, Laura Hoover was well traveled and she and Scott, as I remember, both had grandparents who met and maintained homes in the Seychelles Islands. What were the odds on that happening! Anyway, we discussed my recent trip to Panama and Laura brought up a project she had gotten into involving microcredits in Guatemala and Mexico. It’s a way of helping people help themsleves by launching small businesses with micro credit loans www.namaste-direct.org
They truly do amazing work and for such little investment from “investors.”
I felt very lucky and priviledged to hob nob with the annointed of Napa …and that is the fun of travel…you never know where or with whom you could end up.
Needless to say , three nights and afternoons dining in Napa provided an exceptional experience…and a bit of a weight gain. But it was worth it. The finale was the art exhibition set in the gallery area of the Robert Mondavi Winery.
Perfect Napa weather..wonderful restaurants, exceptional wines, parties …art events…local galleries, a private reception at a gracious home in Napa ….new acquaintences…what’s not to like about a summer trip to Napa and wine country?
Are "Convenience Foods" always that Convenient?
Posted: August 16, 2008
As you may be aware, I am a great believer in making life easy in the kitchen. Indeed, my website Gourmet Food Revolution is in fact dedicated to proving that cooking really excellent food at home can be done without causing too much exhaustion or stress and without the necessity for culinary training! So I am always on the lookout for new ideas and tips and was intrigued, even excited a little when Delia Smith, the doyenne of Britain's celebrity cooks launched her latest book "How to Cheat at Cooking".
Annual Gift Certificate Sale at GourmetStation
Posted: August 9, 2008
So how many times do you find yourself wanting to gift another - and you're at a loss? Someone did something nice for you - gave you a ride to work this week while your car was in the shop. Loaned you their beach house for a nice vacation. You know what I mean. And then there are the reoccurring occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. These are the ones we struggle with from year to year to be original and creative. Well, gifting should not be a struggle and GourmetStation has a solution. Plus the soluion is on sale now at 30% off.
Keep a few of our food gift certificates on hand to make gifting easy for you and a pleasure for your recipient. Your recipient will receive our totally cool passport with menu tickets to our Parisian, Tuscan, Cajun, Fusion & Americana menu lines. Redemption options include phone or Internet; plus our dining gift certificates never expire. They'll receive a ready to heat gourmet dinner for two or better said, "a gourmet experience." Bon appetit!
Great Cajun Cook Off
Posted: August 1, 2008
Certain foods have a fan base just like a rock band. BBQ comes to mind first. I’m not sure what gives a food category license to have more excitement and passion than other categories, but it is a fact of life. And no category has more passion than Cajun Cookin’. For those of you who share this passion, here is an event you must know about. A Cajun Cook-Off! Below is information right off their web site:
“The Third Annual Great Cajun Cook-Off is here! Brought to you by the Cactus Cajun Foundation, this year’s event will take place on Sunday, November 2, 2008 from 1 to 4 PM at the Lath House Pavilion in Downtown Phoenix. The Cook-Off is an exciting fundraiser featuring a cooking contest between amateurs and professionals in the categories of gumbo and jambalaya. All proceeds from ticket sales go directly to the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity and the Joel Monte West Club Scholarship.”
If time and distance won’t allow you to attend the cook-off in Phoenix, and you wish to be there in spirit, consider making a donation to this worthy charitable event.
You may also enjoy authentic Cajun cooking from GourmetStation….as a gift for another or a treat for yourself. Our Cajun cuisine is configured in 3 & 4 course Cajun dinners delivered....exquisite food gifts.