Saturday, September 26, 2009


Dear friends and followers:
I am not sure what my excuse is for not being here the past couple weeks...Could be the heat, or the fact that after all my vacations I am now on a diet of not so exciting food. Or that my Diva Mom and I have taken up spinning class and it has tortured me into a non creative stupor...

What ever it is I am sorry that I have been slacking and I hope to be back at it soon! Please don't give up on me yet, soon it will be time for good food and fun. That is if the Temperatures outside could ever stay under 100 degrees, and the scale starts to cooperate with me.

See you soon!

The Wino

Monday, September 7, 2009

Always watching for The Green Flash!

For those of you who don't know, a Green Flash is a rare phenomenon that happens when the upper lip of the sun meats the horizon over the ocean. It is some sort of atmospheric flash. Of course when you spend your evening watching for it, you tend to be staring at the sun for so long that when the sun does disappear its hard to tell if its a green flash or just a green dot that floats in your vision long after the sunset has passed.

Since I grew up going to the beach in Southern California I have spent many evening watching for the Green Flash, now its more of a tradition. I have yet to say if I have actually seen it ever!
I have now discovered a Green Flash that is easy to see, has Wine and great Prime Rib!

701 Thomas Ave
Pacific Beach
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 270-7715

The Green Flash serves Breakfast daily till 11:00, Lunch till 3:00 and Dinner starts at 4:30. There are also sunset specials that are available 4:30-6:00 Sunday through Thursday you must be seated by 6pm to get the specials.

There is great ocean front patio seating and normally the wait isn't too bad. Just know that if you arrive within 20 minutes of the sun actually WILL be waiting, no one is getting up during the suns final descent! After all they are all looking for that green flash!

The Green Flash of course has fresh fish and seafood dishes, but I am more of a red meat kind of girl. I love their Prime Rib, it is served with vegetables, bread, and your choice of rice, baked potato or french fries at $19.95. I always get the baked potato with my meat. This trip in the hopes that we would not gain 20 pounds before heading home my guy and I decided to split a meal. Of course we got the largest cut of Prime Rib and also got a large Caesar salad for $8.95. And they are not kidding when they say large. Sorry I was hungry and forgot to take a picture of the Salad till it was about gone...oops!

The Kitchen was so nice to split our plates for us, so we wouldn't have to fight over who got the bigger piece.

The wine list At the Green Flash actually has some very good quality wines and they are not ridiculously priced. Two of my favorites are the Louis M Martini Cabernet at about $22 a bottle and J Lohr Cabernet also somewhere around $24 a bottle. If you are not quite as big of a wino, they do serve by the glass also and those are about $7 give or take. I would expect them to charge more for everything considering they are right on the sand looking out at the Great Pacific Ocean...I hope they keep it that way forever!

The Green flash is also a mandatory stop whenever my guy and I are in the area, you can't beat the atmosphere, great food and the great value. I give a 5 sister rating! I am partial to the view!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Senor Grubby's
377 Carlsbad Village Dr
Carlsbad CA 92008

Senor Grubby's is more than just a breakfast place, it is a great place for Happy Hour, their Happy Hour is 7pm-10pm daily. Seems a little late, but that gives you time to spend the day at the beach a mere couple blocks away. You could even watch the sun set over the Pacific then walk on over to Senor Grubby's for their $3 drafts, or the $5 for a draft and two tacos. Tuesdays its $2 Tecate drafts ALL day!

Grubby's is a casual place where you order at the counter and they give you a number, so they can bring your food and beverage out to you. There is a salsa bar with all kinds of home made salsas and garnishes for your meal. The pickled onions were really tasty and such a pretty pink!

We were there on Tuesday for our first visit, so of course we started with a Tecate! Senior Grubby's is small, family friendly and decorated with what else? Surf and beach paraphernalia.

If you are a fan of tacos and burritos this is the place for you. There is everything from fish tacos to Cabeza tacos...if you watch Bourdaine you know what that is! (head!)

The fish tacos are crispy fried fish on a warm corn tortilla with cabbage salad and a white sauce. They also have shrimp tacos that are grilled and covered in a tangy spicy sauce, three seafood tacos are about $6.50 I got two fish tacos and 1 shrimp taco.

My guy got 3 Carnitas tacos with pico de gallo on the side (he is not a fan of onions)for $5. All tacos come on warm soft corn tortillas.

The next trip (couple days later) we were there for lunch before heading to the beach. That day the special was 5 tacos for $5. I was told by a guy at the bar that I had to try the El Pastor tacos which is a big pile of sliced pork on a pole with a pineapple on top. They shave it off the edges and pile it on tortillas with onion, cilantro and a chunk of Pineapple. For a dollar more I added guacamole. The guacamole was a bit bland, but if you add the green salsa and some salt its pretty darn good! And that little bit of pineapple adds a touch of sweat, very good.

My guy who as we know loves burritos, got the Carnitas burrito. Made with a very large flour tortilla filled with the shredded pork, pico de gallo and guacamole with refried beans on the side, for $6.85. I am told it was quite good, and the beans were mighty tasty, they tasted suspiciously like Rosarita...

And of course what is a mexican food meal without a pitcher of Tecate? We were on vacation after all! On my next trip I will have to try their breakfast, if I can get up and out in time. I give Senor Grubby's a 4 sister rating.

No Shoes-No Shirt-No Problem!

121 Liverpool Dr.
Cardiff By The Sea, CA
Open Daily 7am-3pm

I know I promised to share the best breakfast place in San Diego County...oh a couple months ago... yeah I have been slacking! Recently I spent eight days in Carlsbad at my favorite Sheraton of course. So it is time to finally share my breakfast finds with you.
First off is a place my guy and I were told about a couple years ago Pipes, and it has become a mandatory stop at least once a trip (usually more).

Pipes is a casual place that is decorated in surf posters and surf boards and surf stickers. The atmosphere is "Totally surfer dude!" I am pretty sure that tattoos are part of the uniform for the employees. They have an out door patio that looks toward the ocean, across the coast highway...

Out on the patio is where the Pipes Coffee Bar is located where you can get Lattes, Mochas, Hot chocolate, cappuccinos and espressos. They also have regular coffee and you can choose from a Kona Blend, French Roast a Kona Blend Decaf, Plus! One of their special blends (Irish Cream, Vanilla Nut, Milky Way etc.)

Pipes believes in large portions, so if you are a light eater bring a friend. My guy tried the splitting thing one time...But usually we can not agree on breakfast, his new favorite is the Burritos and they are huge! This one is the#2 with Eggs, bacon, potatoes, cheese & pica sauce in a flour tortilla only $4.95

For my breakfast I opted for the Sausage Scrambler; Eggs, sausage,avocado &cheese. Scramblers are served with Pipes potatoes which you can get topped with cheese (oh yeah!)and and an English muffin. $6.50

Pipes doesn't just serve Breakfast, they have the Pipes Burger- 1/3 lb fresh ground beef, lettuce , tomato, onion, pickle,mayo, mustard, and ketchup for $5.25 and for a little extra you can add cheese and/or bacon.

There is also a veggie sandwich (it is California!), Tuna salad sandwich, BLT&A (w/avocado), quesadilla and the Pipes Cobb Salad-Romain lettuce, topped with Chicken, bacon, avocado, cheese, tomato & onion all tossed in a creamy dressing for $7.50. Check out the website for more menu items, or surf on over and check it out your selves dudes!

I give Pipes a 4 sister rating!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Back to Yountville California, located just north of Napa, this is where you will find the V Market. More importantly this is where Napa Style and Bottega are located, both are the creations of Chef Michael Chiarello. As you know last year I met Michael at Napa Style, I acquired some fantastic salt and drank some really good wine. This year on our trip, my goal was to eat at Bottega, Michaels new restaurant that is located directly across from Napa style. After spending the day wine tasting, my guy and I arrived at the V Market just moments before Napa Style closed and managed to slip in and buy a bunch of salt…and apparently ended up with Herbes de Napa (a special blend of rosemary, lavender, fennel, thyme, savory and bay). I was aiming for grey salt and got the herbes by mistake…They have actually turned out to be pretty tasty!

After our whirlwind through Napa Style, which I am pretty sure my guy enjoyed this time more than the last trip, we took my salt and had dinner at Bottega. Anything more than five minutes in a store and my guy starts getting restless!

Bottega has a warm, rustic yet refined feel to it. The covered patio is a combination of couches for lounging, a wood burning fireplace and seating for dinning. The feel is of someone’s personal out door living space. The d├ęcor has lots of reds, oranges, and chocolate browns, I thought it was beautiful. There were strings of white lights all around that I am sure at night make the area glow.

My guy and I opted to enjoy the great late afternoon weather and sit out side. Coming from Phoenix there is no sitting out doors this time of year!
Have I mentioned how much I like salt? My favorite touch, was that on the tables instead of a salt shakers there is a small bowl of salt with a little spoon! Am I crazy to think that is awesome? It wasn’t your usual salt either, it was grey salt, and I probably could have eaten it all by itself. Don’t worry I didn’t…I did sample it a lot though!

Chef Chiarello has created a menu of micro-regional Italian cuisine using house made ingredients and focusing as much as possible on local produce and other products.

The wine list is extensive and from what I can tell is all Napa and surrounding area wines. You can spend anywhere from $24 to $500 on one bottle! I chose a 2007 Zinfandel A. Rafanelli, from Dry Creek $45. Dry Creek is located in Healdsburg Ca, and the winery specializes in Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

When first seated our server Murph brought out a bowl of rustic bread with a dipping sauce of olive oil, garlic and herbs…SO good!

For our meal we decided to share, in the spirit of trying not to eat until we are miserable! We ordered the Smoked & Braised Natural Short Ribs served with preserved-lemon spinach and smokey jus. That was $28 and worth every penny! The short ribs were moist and falling apart tender, with awesome flavor! The spinach was also cooked just right with a hint of lemon. Even the man, who doesn’t do spinach unless it is swimming in cheese liked it.

As a side ( $6 each) we chose the Delfina Potatoes, smashed & fried with crisp garlic, parsley, lemon and flake salt. These were absolutely spectacular! The crispy garlic and salt made these potatoes! I have been thinking about them ever since!

The service at Bottega was friendly, knowledgeable and prompt. Murph split the Short ribs and spinach at the table for us, all while telling stories about Michael as though they were best friends. Not sure if Chef Chiarello is “just the best boss ever!” or if it is part of the entertainment. All in all the afternoon was perfect! The food was even better than I had expected, the wine and the company were wonderful and the atmosphere and attention to details made for a relaxing afternoon. What a great way to spend a day!

Bottegga would receive a 6 sister rating if that was possible...But since that is just crazy talk , I give it a five sister rating. If you are ever in the area don't miss the opportunity to eat at Bottega. There is even the possibility that Chef Micheal himself could be there, Chef coat and apron on! If you see him tell him the Wino says hi!
Bon Appetite!

Lunch:Tuesday through Sunday: 11:30 am - 2:30 pm.
Dinner:Monday through Thursday: 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Friday & Saturday: 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sunday: 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I know I said that next we would be talking about Bottega, but when I turned on the computer this morning I discovered I had been given an award! I haven't gotten an award since....hmmmm not sure when. Moments like this make this blogging thing all worth while. Most days I feel I am just venting or talking to myself. But there really is someone out there, and you like me! What a great way to start the day. Look at my pretty award!
My friend Dawn at Fry Moments gave me this award, she and I went to high school together, though I feel we never really got to know each other back then. This is probably for the best because I know I am a much different person now than that high school girl. Dawn is a wonderful mother, talented photographer, successful gardener and foodie extraordinaire. I am proud to call her my friend. I hope you check out her blog and enjoy getting to know her as I have, thank you Dawn for my award!
Now I must pass this award on to a few fellow bloggers. Narrowing it down is going to be tough! Since starting this blog I have met so many talented people, that I never would have met otherwise.
I think my first award will have to go to my fellow Wandering Sister, The Diva Mom. She is the one who got me to do this blog, and even though she is not always on top of the posting, when she does it is truly entertaining! Just because she has two small adorable kids and a husband to manage, I don't see why she cant just hang out on the computer writing and eating Bon Bons all day....just kidding my dear! Keep up the good work!

The next would have to go to another Diva, this one was one of the first new friends to comment on my blog. I don't know about you but comments are like awards in themselves! They reassure us that someone is actually out there reading and even enjoying what we have to say. Diva on a diet at Beach Eats, is always entertaining and way more organized than I am on the blogging! I love the Thirsty Thursdays, She makes mixology really live up to its name. Also her humor is such that I feel like I have known her for years! Thank you Diva for all the inspiration!

My next award goes to Lori Lynn at TaStE WiTh ThE EyEs, her blog has inspired me to post quality photos. Her recipes and photos are so beautiful that they are a work of art. I had no idea how much fun it was to photograph food so that it makes you hungry just looking at it. After all do any of you really buy cookbooks that have no pictures? Personally I am more about the pictures than the actual instructions. Thank you Lori Lynn!

I am going to chose one more, even though all the blogs I follow or even run across deserve praise in one form or the other. After all I would not be reading them if they were bad!
Number Four award goes to Lisa Orgler at The Lunch Box Project . Lisa has a whimsical way with food, that brings back childhood memories…the good ones. This is another blog that has inspired me to try new things and to think artistically again.

I do hope you check all of these great blogs and enjoy them as much as I do. While you are there tell them The Wino sent you. Also check out all my friends that I am following, you just might find a new friend too! If you have a blog that is worthy of this award please feel free to pass it along, and let me know so I can enjoy them as well!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Wino Revealed! GASP!!!

Yountville / Napa Valley
V Marketplace
6525 Washington St.Yountville, CA
(707) 945-1229

Have I ever mentioned that one of my favorite Chefs to watch on TV is Michael Chiarello. I loved the show Easy Entertaining and then the new show on Fine living, Napa Style. Michael makes cooking for a group of people look easy and fun. How I wish I could be one of what seems like thousands of very close friends that gets invited to hang out in his Napa Valley house, while he prepares great food in a unique way. I know it is just television, but I am sure those shows were totally realistic and of course Michael is a perfect host! If you know better DO NOT burst my bubble!

On last years trip to Napa with my guy, I insisted that we stop in at Napa Style, Chef Chiarello's store and cafe in Yountville. I had been told that on that exact day Michael would be cooking at the cafe! My boyfriend, not being the shopping, food TV watching type was sure this would be a waste of precious wine tasting time. He also was under the impression that I was going to just pop in and out of this store and we would be on our way...He had never seen me around somewhat famous people of whom I truly admire. Yes I was nervous!

Let me say my boyfriend is also kind of the bull in a china shop type, so he of course walks into Napa Style, and heads straight for the Cafe so he can meet this Michael fellow... I first almost tackle him! This is not how I do things! I am basically pretty shy and I take the VERY slow approach...(some might call it stalkings) wandering around the store slowly browsing and sneaking peaks at the kitchen in the back of the store...yes Chef Michael is indeed back there making salads and sandwiches....I skulk around the store some more... Taste each of the large selection of salts...Taste some wine(liquid courage)....frustrate the heck out of my boyfriend who just keeps asking, "Are we gonna order a sandwich or what?" He does not understand my process! After...maybe 30 minutes of "shopping" I am told we are ordering food or we are leaving, FINE! Lets do this!

So we order a fancy BLT, my guy jokes around with Michael about how he has way more grey hair than on TV. This would have been embarrassing but, my guy has a full head of premature grey hair! So Michael being the perfect host I assume he is, takes it in stride and jokes right back. There is casual banter between the two, as I just stand there silently like a lump on a log...That is all part of my process! Then we sit and eat, and I drink some of the Chiarello Zinfandel, which I recall being really good...biased, maybe.

After a few minutes Micheal comes out of the kitchen to greet some of the other crazy fans hanging around watching him cook (ok maybe I was the only crazy one). Chef Chiarello approached our table....and I have no idea what was said! All I remember saying was can I shake your hand? He was very nice and let me, and yes eventually I let go. My guy not being in the same fog I was said "hey how about a picture?" So Michael and I stood next to each other and smiled, my guy of course made jokes about Michael not getting handsy (party pooper!) and Michael made a comment about my guy being bigger than him (by quite a few inches) so not to worry (party pooper!). And then he moved did we.

Of course I also spent a large amount of money on grey salt and some pink salt to take home with me. I can not really remember the rest of that day other than sending the picture to everyone I knew! Some knew who he was and were impressed others said "who is that guy?" I still say Michael Chiarello is a fabulous host and Napa Style is also a great way to spend some time if you are ever in Yountville California.

Since this was pre-blogging days for me I did not get any other pictures of the interior of Napa Style...and I was too busy "shopping".You will just have to check out the website or go visit for yourselves. This one time only I will share THE picture of Michael and I, The Wino Reavealed!
Next trip, BOTTEGA!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Heat Will Not Keep Me Down...

As some of you may have noticed I have been slacking in the posting of blogs lately. This heat I live in seems to melt my brain and put a dry damper(is that posible?) on any creativity, and of course any desire to cook. But yesterday I decided I was in the mood for Mexican food, actually I have been in the Mexican food mood for a while now, particularly beef tacos....But not today!Maybe its the theory that if you eat spicy food when it is really hot out side, it cools your body down...Really it just makes you sweat profusely and turn on lots of fans to cool the sweat. Appetizing huh?! Or maybe it is the cold beer that usually accompanies Spicy food.

Living in Phoenix Arizona there are two things you can not avoid, the heat and great Mexican food. Though not all of the Mexican food in Arizona is great, but since there is a Mexican restaurant on pretty much every corner, you have to eat a lot to find the bad ones.

Recently I went to my local farmers market and found that Hatch green chile's were now in season. These chile's are a bit more spicy than the Anaheim Chile but look a lot like them. Long green Chile peppers that are perfect for things like chile Relleno, diced up in chili or as I plan to do green Chile cheese enchiladas.

I decided to roast the chile's and use them in strips. Of course you can also used canned or jarred mild green chile's and red peppers for this recipe if you are not into the roasting peppers thing. It does take some of the burning of the finger tips out of the equation, but not as much fun!

Home made enchilada sauce (way easier than it sounds)

This makes enough for four single servings of enchiladas, I used half and froze the rest.
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
2 large roasted red peppers blended till smooth
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 tsp chili powder
3 cloves of garlic minced

Simmer this on low to combine all the flavors for about 30 minutes.

To build the enchiladas I used individual baking dishes. Lightly fry corn tortillas and dredge them through the sauce, place it one in the bottom of each pan. Place two 1/2 inch wide green chile strips ion top of that sprinkle with cheddar and pepper jack cheese. Top with another slightly fried tortilla and repeat the process till you run out of room or peppers. Top layer should be tortilla , top with extra sauce and shredded cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until bubbly and slightly brown on top.

I served this with a Ceasar Salad, because after all the Ceasar salad is originally from Mexico. And for the beverage of the night I went with an Argentina Malbec, Tapiz 2007 . A little spice with a big red wine is a wonderful thing!

This morning Phoenix had one of the first monsoon storms, and unlike the eastern half of the country, we get VERY excited when it rains. Today it is noticeably cooler and much more moist outside. I hope this will help revive some creativity and shriveled brain cells and that I will be back here with some regularity soon!

Until then, Bon Appetite!