Curious Epicurean

Posts Tagged ‘california wine

Downtown Paso Robles has managed to maintain its historic feeling with a beautiful park and brick buildings, while embracing very modern culinary trends. Midway between San Francisco and LA, Paso Robles is a perfect weekend escape. On a recent visit, we stopped in for a dinner at Artisan. The restaurant is decidedly urban in the midst of the small town setting.

One of the things I truly admire about Paso Robles restaurants, is their commitment to local, seasonal ingredients and an abundance of local wine. If you visit Paso Robles in search of fabulous food and wine pairings, a stop at Artisan will not leave you disappointed. We opted for a Vina Robles, Verdelho “Huerhuero Estate”, 2010. It’s wonderfully balanced with creamy notes and a bright aroma of melon and pear.

Jalapeño cornbread, served with honey butter

Jalapeño cornbread, served with honey butter.

Diving into the seasonal menu at Artisan is a treat. We started with the Jalapeño cornbread. There is something so fun about finger food appetizers–even at a restaurant! The spicy cornbread is perfectly complimented by the delicate honey butter it is served with.

Scallops, prawns, mussels, clams and Spanish chorizo.

Scallops, prawns, mussels, clams and Spanish chorizo.

For entrees, we were tempted with fresh seafood. We tried the scallops, prawns mussels, clams and Spanish Chorizo. The scallops were buttery and tender. The spicy chorizo and saffron were perfect compliments to jazz up the seafood. We also had the swordfish, garnished with kalamata olives and local olive oil. The swordfish had beautiful grill marks that provided a crunchy outer layer and locking in the savory flavors.

Swordfish with kalamata olives.

Swordfish with kalamata olives.

Chickpeas provided a bright, green compliment to the rich swordfish.

Artisan is open daily for lunch and dinner. We’re looking forward to stopping in for brunch during our next weekend visit to Paso Robles.

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For so many people who think of a destination wedding, wine country is a natural choice. I thought it was for me too. Aside from the fact that my fiancée and I both have a pretty healthy little wine habit, we also live in what is argued to be California’s oldest wine country and I work to promote the more than 50 area wineries.

Really, what could be more romantic than rolling hills of lush vines? What about the perfectly paired local varietals and wine country cuisine? What about the sheer variety of  hospitable venues to reflect any style or theme and accommodate a group of any size?

The size of the group certainly proved to be the issue. Before I could blink, the intimate late-summer winery wedding I had envisioned more than double in guest count. The price tag followed accordingly.

Inevitably, it was too much to deal with. I’m used to planning events. I’m comfortable with the ins and outs, deadlines, contracts and stress. But that’s when I’m paid to stress.

This was our wedding and I refused to stress. The solution: a destination wedding. Next August, as the suns sets on the North Shore of Oahu, we’re having our intimate wedding surrounded by close family and friends.

I’ve learned that a destination wedding can mean different things to different brides- and grooms-to-be. The location holds such value and is so meaningful. Wine country can be  the perfect, relaxing fit for many couples’ dream wedding. Wine country is our favorite go-to weekend escape, but I guess we just got spoiled having wine country at our fingertips whenever we choose. For us, we needed somewhere a little different with an oceanfront sunset and our toes in the sand.


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