Foodie: Seafood Boil

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A couple of weekends ago the weather here was still bearable, so we wanted to enjoy dinner in the backyard. I decided to do a seafood boil and to simply use the BBQ’s side burner to boil it. One pot, one burner and then we threw it down on the table for everyone to enjoy. 

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The simplicity of this boil is to die for and it was so much fun to basically eat off the table. We laid down brown paper bags so the table itself wouldn’t get dirty and enjoyed!

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I used red potatoes, corn on the cob, smoked turkey kielbasa, shrimp, and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. I put the potatoes in too early (or cut them too small), so they were slightly overcooked but edible so no biggie! 

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Wine Wednesday: Murphy-Goode Sauvignon Blanc

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Another week and another wine, this one is perfect for these warm summer days we are having. I hadn’t experienced Murphy-Goode Wine, part of the Jackson Family Wines and I’m so sad I’ve been missing out all this time. If you live near the Bay Area, you know that we are experiencing 90+ degree weather and there’s nothing better than being able to relax with a cool, refreshing glass of wine.

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Murphy-Goode’s Sauvignon Blanc, The Fume is the perfect ending to your warm day or weekend. We had friends over for a BBQ last weekend to watch the Golden State Warriors make it to the Finals and I was so excited to open this bottle. It was light, crisp, refreshing and didn’t overpower with any floral flavors. 

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From the winemaker, “This Sauvignon Blanc is all about the fruit spectrum from citrus flavors through the tropical. Look for notes of tangerine, peach, melon, and pineapple all brought together in a focused manner. I like to think of this wine as a poolside appropriate.”

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As if the taste wasn’t great enough, the retail price is $14! I really enjoyed this variety and can’t wait to try other Murphy-Goode wines. Look for more wine reviews on them very soon!

Wine Wednesday: Riverbench Winery Chardonnay

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This week I got a special treat with an impromptu wine tasting at Riverbench Winery’s tasting room in Santa Barbara. Downtown Santa Barbara has an area known as the Funk Zone where there are vintage shops and 16 tasting rooms….all within walking distance of my hotel! Yippee! I wanted to find a good Chardonnay to take back to my hotel and put my trust in Google to point me in the right direction. Riverbench Winery came up with a review of a Chardonnay that will make anyone fall in love with the variety. 

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I wasn’t alone when I ventured into the tasting room, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be welcome. My husband was with me, but so were Toddler D and Baby K. We were greeted warmly and told to bring the kids right on in. Another couple from Tucson were enjoying the Bubbly tasting menu with their adorable dog, Molly, who more than enjoyed having Toddler D as a playmate for a bit. I went for the Chardonnay tasting and each taste was better than the last. I started with the Rose of Pinot Noir and then had the Reserve Chardonnay, Chapel View Chardonnay, Estate Chardonnay, and the Bedrock Chardonnay. I ended up buying a bottle of the Chapel View which to me had the perfect slightly buttery taste and had me craving more. 

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The tasting room is beautiful with a long L-shaped couch and quarter wine barrels that have steel tops, which coincidentally make for perfect drums if you are a toddler. I can’t wait to go back and try their Pinot Noir and Sparkling Wines!

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Wine Wednesday: Livermore Wineries

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The weekend is upon us and if you’re in the Bay Area looking for something to do, I think it’ll be a perfect weekend for wine tasting! I know it’s not “Wine Wednesday”, but there should never just be one day dedicated to wine…it should be every day!

It’s hard to believe but one thing I haven’t done much of is go wine tasting. My husband and I are vowing to change that, especially since there are countless vineyards so close to us. A few weekends ago we ventured to Livermore and met up with our nephew and his family to try out 3 wineries; 3 Steves Winery, Garre Winery, and Wente Vineyards. We’ve tasted Wente wines before, but the other two were going to be brand new experiences. I reached out to the 3 wineries to let them know we would be visiting and they were all welcoming to us, our kids and the dogs!

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We packed a picnic, all the kids, the dog, the stroller and headed out for the quick 45 minute drive to Livermore. Our first stop was 3 Steves where we were greeted by Steve Burman…one of the “Steves”! He was extremely welcoming and ready for us to start tasting. We had a large round table outside where the breeze was perfectly blowing and the sun was shining. There was an area for the kids and dogs to play and the view was gorgeous. We tasted 8 different varieties and every single one was memorable and noteworthy. 

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We started with the Brut Sparkling Wine, fermented in the bottle and not in the tank, which is the traditional Methode Champenoise style. This was a perfect and welcoming start. Next up was the Sauvignon Blanc which won the Livermore gold medal. This was so delicious! I came home with a bottle and am hoarding it for the perfect warm afternoon to relax with. We tried their club Chardonnay which is currently sold out. It was buttery but with a distinct crispness. Next up and so impressive was the 2013 Interino Chilean Blend. An incredible blend of Chilean Cab, Carmenere, Malbec, and Syrah. Each grape is hand de-stemmed by women in the local village which not only provides a softness to your palette…you bet I now have a bottle of this at home! We enjoyed the Three Cabs Blend and Cienega Valley Younger Vine Zinfandel which comes from 45 year old vines. Next was the Cienega Valley Ancient Vine Zinfandel  whose vines were planted in 1906! I thoroughly enjoyed the Small Lot Cab and also came home with a bottle of that. If you are in the area, please stop by 3 Steves. We are looking forward to going back very shortly not just for the fabulous wine but also for the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. 

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Our next stop was Garre Winery which unfortunately didn’t blow our minds like 3 Steves did. We were greeted and asked about outside seating for the kids and the dogs and were shown where the outdoor patio was. That was the extent of our interaction with anyone at the winery. We got our own tastings to bring back outside and the wines were ok. They started us with their Sangiovese Rose which they refer to as their “patio wine” followed by 5 other reds. All of their bottles are under $20.

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Our last stop was Wente Vineyards. Wente is a great wine which I’ve boasted about being able to find for really great prices at Costco. Their property is large with multiple areas to taste and have events. Their tasting menu offers two options so we went with the Winemaker’s Flight. As soon as you step onto the property you are offered a “welcome wine” which happened to be a Sauvignon Blanc and was a perfect welcome! We had two great tasting room employees who tag teamed our group. We tried the Small Lot Pinot Noir Rose, Nth Degree Chardonnay, Sonata, Duetto and Small Lot Petite Sirah. Every single wine was great. The Nth degree Chardonnay was crisp with a buttery aftertaste which I enjoyed. 

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Some fun facts for you…90% of the country’s wine is grown in California…only 4% of which is in Napa and the first Chardonnay grape was planted by Wente in 1912.

Wine Wednesday: Fruits and Wine

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It seems Rosés are becoming more and more popular and they definitely make for a refreshing spring or summertime wine (or anytime!). Fruits and Wine, France’s #1 aromatized wine has launched 3 unique blends of Rose Wine and real fruit juice.

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 Produced by Moncigale in France, Fruits and Wine is a line of refreshing wine beverages. Slightly alcoholic (7% alc./vol.) they combine the delicacy of real fruit juice with the freshness of wine. Fresh, fruity, delicious, tangy…something for everyone. Moncigale is situated in the heart of three emblematic wineries of southern France – Provence, Languedoc-Russillon and the Rhône Valle.

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GRAPEFRUIT ROSÉ WINE: A succulent blend of rosé wine and grapefruit juice that delivers its sweet and tart notes.

CHERRY ROSÉ WINE: A delicious blend of rosé wine and cherry juice that delivers natural and delicately sweet notes.

STRAWBERRY ROSÉ WINE: A luscious blend of rosé wine and strawberry juice that offers sweet and refreshing notes.

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