Conversations with Hilary: Hilary Newsom

decided to start the Conversations with Hilary series so I could feature incredibly interesting people that inspire me and who thought were making a positive impact in the community. The extraordinary people that I have been lucky enough to interview range from NFL superstars to actors, artists, musicians and philanthropists. After almost two years of this series and thousands of page views on the PlumpJack Blog, I feel honored with the response I have received from the audience. My favorite part is getting to know my friends a lot better as they thoughtfully consider the answers to my questions. It was only recently that it occurred to me that I had never done the exercise of answering the questions myself. If you know me, I am mostly an open book, but for those of you who want to know a little bit more about who I am and what I am passionate about, well then, here it is, my version of Conversations with Hilary, featuring ME!air max 90 premium

11118854_1400187450309965_4507302405805553387_nWhat do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
My daughters Talitha and Siena – they are growing into compassionate young ladies, who care about others in a genuine way. This is all I could ever hope for as a parent! And I am proud of my strong marriage to my husband Geoff Callan, one of the most loving and hilarious people I have ever balance 996

Do you have a prized possession?
I have a Cartier “love bracelet” that belonged to my mom. She gave it to me to borrow when she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. One of the best days for me was when I gave it back to her when she was in remission. Sadly, I have the bracelet back on, for good, since loosing my mom to cancer in 2002.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I think people would say I am loyal and (mostly) kind! I think I am occasionally funny, but maybe that is just wishful thinking.womens nike free run

Hilary and Gavin

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Philanthropy brings me great joy, so I would love to eventually run the PlumpJack Foundation. This will happen, I just need more time!
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What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
I am in the business of making people happy. When I came to PlumpJack to work for my brother Gavin, I never imagined I would be here 19 years later and still having so much fun! What is there not to like about the world of hospitality.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Reflect on how many times my two toy poodles woke me during the night! Then revisit the very vivid dreams I had.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Have dinner at my best friend Lori Puccinelli Stern’s house. She is a great cook and throws a great dinner party!

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Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks with Hilary and Geoff at the PlumpJack LINK Classic

Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks with Hilary and Geoff at the PlumpJack LINK Classic

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Making people happy. My youngest daughter says that to me now- that she only wants to make people happy. I think that is something that has stayed with me over the years, my desire to be a people-pleaser.

What are you passionate about now?
Helping people, even if it’s one person at a time. Raising my daughters to be good citizens, loving my family and friends.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I love the fall. I love the cooler weather (I have great coats!) and that the holidays are right around the corner.

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Hilary, Geoff, Siena and Talitha

Hilary, Geoff, Siena and Talitha

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
Can we consider my husband Geoff, and my daughters Tali and Siena items? Probably not, so I would take pallet of Teas’ Tea in Golden Oolong flavor, my iPhone for audiobooks and a really big solar light, as I am afraid of the dark!

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
The Hilary Gin and Tonic, that you can currently order at Forgery – although I mainly drink Cade Sauvignon Blanc and PlumpJack and Cade Cab’s.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod? Anything performed by Eoin Harrington, I especially love his rendition of “Hallelujah.” I’m also a big  fan Pat Monahan of Train!

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Well considering Hillary Clinton was just in SF having “Conversations with Hillary” I was a little hurt she didn’t invite me, so looks like I will have to invite her!

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” Hilary and her mother

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If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
“Chaordic”, the story of a happy life filled with organized Chaos. My husband would suggest, “Wonder Woman: The Unauthorized Biography of Hilary Newsom.”

Do you have any regrets?
That all I tried to do for my mom, it was not enough.

Define Freedom.
Physically: Feeling safe in your home, in your city, in your country.

What are your personal core values?
I value loyalty, approachability, and being compassionateabove all.

Robert Parker Releases Wine Scores for 2015

We have some exciting news to share – the latest reviews from Robert Parker were published recently and we are humbled and honored by Mr. Parker’s reviews of our wines from all three wineries: Odette Estate, PlumpJack Winery, and CADE Estate. We were already so proud of Aaron Miller, Danielle Cyrot, and Jeff Owens and the wine they produced– and Robert Parker’s words simply reinforce that. Take a look at his reviews below!

2013 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
100 points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Estate Oakville is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot aged in 100% new French oak. This is perfection and an absolutely amazing effort. The wine is dense purple with sweet tannin, oodles of blueberry and blackberry fruit caressed by toasty new oak, and a full-bodied multi-dimensional mouthfeel — akin to a skyscraper in the mouth, but without any heaviness. The finish goes on for a good 45+ seconds, and the wine is super-pure and majestic. Truly a tour de force in Cabernet Sauvignon. Kudos to Plumpjack. Drink 2018-2040.

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2013 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon Estate – 96 points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Oakville is a blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot aged in 80% new French oak. A beautiful, saturated purple color offers up blackberry, crème de cassis, licorice, charcoal and camphor. Full-bodied, yet still youthful and tight, it is bursting with terrific purity, texture and length. This big, classic Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon will hit its prime in 10-15 years, and last 30 or more years, based on how older vintages from this sector have aged. It’s a beauty.
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2013 PlumpJack Syrah – 91 points
PlumpJack’s delicious 2013 Syrah, which is 100% Syrah aged in 65% new French oak, tips the scales at 15% alcohol. It offers a dense purple color, a big, sweet kiss of blackberry and cassis liqueur, and touches of licorice and underbrush. It is full-bodied, opulent, and best drunk over the next decade or more.
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2013 PlumpJack Merlot – 90 points
A sexy, seductive wine, Plumpjack’s 2013 Merlot (92% Merlot and 8% Malbec aged in 65% new French oak) is soft and round, shows juicy, plum, mocha and black cherry fruit, is low in acidity, lush and a total hedonistic turn-on. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.
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 2013 CADE Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – 92 points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec and 15% Petit Verdot, tipping the scales at 15.1% alcohol) has an inky purple color, a beautiful nose of blueberry and blackberry fruit, licorice and spring flowers. It is complex, rich, full-bodied, opulent, sexy and lush. This is a 2013 to drink now, as well as cellar for 10-15+ years.
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2013 CADE Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – 97 points
Lastly, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Howell Mountain (100% Cabernet Sauvignon with a screw cap) tips the scales at 15.9% alcohol. This is another stunningly proportioned, majestic mountain Cabernet, with mulberry, blueberry, blackberry and floral notes that is concentrated, full-bodied and multilayered. This skyscraper-like Cabernet Sauvignon is majestic, super-pure and a stunner. The alcohol is totally hidden, so unless you’re paranoid, simply see the number, and have an immediate loss of reason, this is a beautiful, full-throttle, full-bodied wine that is impeccably well-balanced, with great purity, depth and concentration. Drink it over the next 15-20 years.

2013 CADE Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
94 points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain has an inky purple color to the rim and represents a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot. Gloriously pure notes of mulberry, graphite, blackberry and blueberry soar from the glass and cascade over the palate. The wine is full-bodied, there is nary a hard edge to be found in this opulent, velvety texture, pure, rich, stunning Cabernet Sauvignon. It finishes impressively, and the wine is capable of lasting 15-20 years, although it’s certainly accessible now.

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2013 Odette Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – 99 points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve picks up the power at 15.6% alcohol, but also has a slightly more saturated opaque/purple color. The wine has a glorious nose of graphite, white flowers, blueberries and blackberries and licorice followed by a full-bodied wine with great precision and delineation, super freshness, vibrancy, and compelling richness and extraction. The finish goes on for a good 55 seconds. This is flirting with perfection in a real serious way. Drink it over the next 25-30 years.
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2013 Odette Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Estate – 95+ points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate exhibits graphite, blackberry and cassis, chocolate and a touch of mineral in a full-bodied, layered and impressively pure style. It’s a big wine for Stags Leap (15.4% alcohol), but gorgeously pure, with everything well-knit into a sensational equilibrium. This is only a baby, but promises to hit its peak in 7-10 years and last 25-30.




Thank you for your great support, and we look forward to sharing a glass with you soon!

To purchase wines from our wineries click here
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24 hours of New Year’s Eve in SF

Follow our blueprint for our ideal New Year’s Eve and you’ll be guaranteed that 2016 will welcome you with open arms and a warm hug.
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Attire – more importantly, the dress. Choose from a comfortable, clubby ensemble from Amour Vert, a classic lace get-up from DVF that says I am serious about this holiday, or something fun and flashy that you can layer with a jacket when getting around on the city streets. All these dresses and styles available at PlumpJackSport.
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Are you in the mood to party on New Year’s Eve? 
Are you the popping bottles and noshing on caviar partier or are you the laying low-type that likes intimate conversations over some good bubbles and hearty fare. Ditch the grocery store party platter and whip up some delightful finger food, but first, the main character, the bubbles.
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Go to PlumpJack Wine & Spirits and ask for Paul, or just take his word for it and buy his top picks.
1. Comtes De Champagne Taittinger, 2005: “100% Chardonnay, in my mind this is one of the greatest Champagnes around. It is probably the only champagne i would flat.
2. Pol Roger Brut Réserve Champagne: “This is an equal blend of the three main varietals. This champagne has a toasty and fruity balance to it.
3.Champagne Gratiot Gerad: “100% Pinot Meunier. This champagne has a little more of a floral note to it and a nice creamy mousse.”
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Diversify your libations and add a celebratory signature cocktail to liven up your soiree.
We enlisted our favorite bartenders at Forgery for a cocktail recipe, and guess what, they know what their doing, so take notice. If you don’t know what some of these items are, there is always Google.
And then there are snacks – very important if you want to continue the party til midnight.
We have lots of inspiration on our Pinterest board, we literally spent many hours searching, pinning and procrastinating, because that is what Pinterest is for, let’s be honest. When it’s time to usher your guests out of your place, because things are starting to get messy and the bubbles are all gone, get yourself to a club. We have two choices for you. For a smaller venue with great jams and lots of dancing, plus champagne and really great cocktails, and even a beer for those who just want to quench their thirst, get to MatrixFillmore. New Year’s Eve features DJ Amy Robbins, spinning the best Top 40 and House beats. Purchase tickers here
If you’re looking to go out and dance your face off to some serious DJs and want to splurge on ultra-exclusive table service, featuring batched craft cocktails, light fare, and more, you need to add Verso to your NYE agenda. Or you can just purchase a ticket to dance and drink, and it will still be the best New Year’s EVER! Purchase tickets here.
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Aftermath of New Year’s can be bitter, but you know what makes it sweet? Brunch!
Get yourself to Balboa Cafe San Francisco, STAT, and order the following: a Balburrito (trust us), an order of Eggs Benedict, or Huevos Rancheros and then wash it down with the city’s best Bloody Mary. Okay, feel better now, we thought so. And, maybe you had a big night and are still up at 9am, in which case, you’re in luck, the Balboa opens bright and early and if you slept in until 1pm, you’re still doing great. And if you are unable to leave the confines of your living room/bedroom, Balboa delivers with partner Caviar. MENU
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When it comes to getting away for New Year’s, Squaw Valley is the place to be! PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn is a cozy, lodge-like resort located at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in North Lake Tahoe California. With amazing snowfall kicking off this season, you wont want to miss the chance to get up to the mountain with amazing conditions this season. Enjoy a great apres ski at the PlumpJack Bar (view menu), the perfect place to wind down from a day of skiing with friends! We are also offering a special Prix Fixe menu for New Years (view menu).

Conversations with Hilary: TV & Radio Personality, Liam Mayclem

Photography by Rick Camargo

Photography by Rick Camargo

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From the moment I met Liam, I knew I had a friend for life. He is extremely charming, hilarious, kind, loyal, philanthropic and loved across the San Francisco Bay Area. Most people will recognize Liam as the Emmy Award winning radio & TV personality and CBS San Francisco’s very own “Foodie Chap.” To me, he is simply an amazing friend and one of the most generous I know.
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Liam and I both share a passion for fundraising and philanthropy. I have been lucky enough to have Liam be our auctioneer for our Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic, which is going into its 17th year. He resides over more than 20 charity auctions a year and has helped raise millions of dollars for Bay Area charities & schools. I am honored to have him as my subject for this month’s Coversations.
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What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
I am proud of three things!
1. My 10 year relationship with my partner and best pal Rick Camargo. I wondered if anyone would ever want to grow old with me? He appears to be…but of course HE is NOT growing old – I am.
2. I am proud of my friendships. They have endured through the years. I love being able to look at a pal and say “twenty years ago do you recall when?” I am a sentimental fart. I treasure friendships immensely.
3. I shed 35 pounds this year and have managed to keep it off. I am proud of that. I took charge of my health by eating right and exercising regularly. Not an easy task when you are the “foodie chap” and one eats and drinks for a living. The key to my weight loss: drink three nights a week instead of eight, push aside the carbs, work out in the morning before you do ANYTHING else and at night, run to bed early instead of to the fridge for snacks.

Do you have a prized possession?
A photo of my brother Rory and my mother who passed in 1998. I was two and my brother five in the photograph. It’s one of just a few that I have of me as a wee one.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I show up, sometimes too much. Often briefly, but I always show up.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I always dreamed early on that I might be an actor. The next Peter O’Toole or Michael Caine. There is still time – no?mens new balance sneakers

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
I love that every day is different as a radio/TV/event host. There is never a dull moment. I am always on the move. This week alone: filming commercial spots for PEETS coffee; today I have a voiceover session for Infiniti of SF; later taping at Oakland Zoo; Sunday a Christmas tree lighting in Half Moon Bay; and three charity events to host, too ….and that’s just half of it. Next week I venture off to India to film a week of travel pieces for CBS-TV – so never an opportunity to get bored. Every day brings new adventure. Did I mention I am also about to launch a 10 day cruise with CRYSTAL CRUISES and my pal Chef Hubert Keller!!? See, life is one non-stop, fun filled adventure!!

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
“Get out of my head, feet on the floor, out of my bed, embrace the day ahead and RUN or drive to the gym”.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Ideally a date night with my partner Rick, preferably at home, cooking and watching a mindless movie; however, most Fridays I am hosting or auctioneering at a Bay Area charity event.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
I loved to sing and act. I was in all the school plays. Acting was in my young bones. I was a radio nut, too, and listened to much pop radio. BBC radio 1 was my favorite to hear “Top of the pops”! My first job was in radio. At Age 16 I read the cricket scores on County Sound Radio in Surrey.

What are you passionate about now?
I still enjoy radio. I love Terry Gross on NPR and enjoy listening to BBC WORLD SERVICE. I am also a passionate fundraiser. I work with a dozen or more Bay Area charities and get a real thrill playing auctioneer. Nothing feels better than for example, at a recent fundraiser for Operation Smile saying: “Together we raised a quarter million dollars and gave a thousand children the possibility of a smile.” That’s powerful. That is my passion -fundraising and igniting that innate giving spirit in others.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I enjoy September and October here in the Bay Area- our Indian Summer. The vineyards in wine country turn a patchwork quilt of colors. A pretty scene to drive through, and in San Francisco – my home and heart – it’s warm. It finally feels like free 3.0 v3

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
My iPhone to stay connected, sun lotion so I don’t burn, and a book titled “how to survive on a desert island.”

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
The Queen Mother (Bombay sapphire, rouge, king’s ginger & lemon bitters). Why this? Because everyone loves the Queen Mum.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah”

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
May I have a few guests? Oscar Wilde for his wit, Robin Williams for laughs, Sting for the music, Marilyn Monroe to share secrets and Julia Child for the cooking.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
New Tales of the City by Liam Mayclem and how Armistead Maupin became a friend along the way.

Do you have any regrets?
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Define Freedom.
Being here in my hometown San Francisco and strolling down the street with my partner Rick arm-in-arm (we are not very handsy) without fear of being verbally or physically abused. And not worrying about what the neighbors think.

What are your personal core values?
Be honest. Be faithful. Be here.

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Gifts for Your: Best Friend

As someone who loves buying gifts for people rather than myself, I especially enjoy getting gifts for my best friends. Having been scouring the internet for the past month, I’ve come across quite a few piece that I know they would love.air max 1

  1. This blanket literally feels like, if a cloud and a hug had a baby. Need I say more?
  2. Raw cut druzy stone earrings offer the right amount of sparkle and dimension. P.S. This collection is all handmade in the Bay Area.
  3. I’ll be sipping my CADE Sauvingon Blanc this season in this ultra chic stemless wineglass.
  4. The perfect pair of slippers to step into after work. And totally wearable to go out and get your latte on a Sunday morning.
  5. An ideal everday tote bag with a smooth finish and optional monogram detail.
  6. Dress up simple tea lights with these pretty tea light holders.
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Spread The #PlumpJackCheer

Tis the season for #PlumpJackCheer. We have countless activities, gift options and events going on at our properties to celebrate the holiday season!new balance running shoe

Show us Your Holiday Cheer with tag #PlumpJackCheer for a chance to win dinner for four. Share holiday décor; festive meals; celebrating with friends and family; and anything that brings you cheer!

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  1. Follow us on Instagram @PlumpJackGroup
  2. Point, zoom, shoot and show us your cheer!
  3. Tag it #plumpjackcheer
  4. Be automatically entered to win dinner for 4 at a PlumpJack Restaurant ($200 gift certificate)*
  5. Contest ends December 31st, winner announced in January 2015

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Balboa Cafe Mill Valley
Holiday Hours
Join us for Christmas and New Years Eve Dinner! Enjoy our regular menu plus specials. We are closed on Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015 
Dinner served 4 pm to 10 pm
New Years Eve, December 31st, 2015 
Dinner served 4 pm to 11 pm

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Balboa Cafe San Francisco 
Holiday Hours
Join us for Christmas Dinner at Balboa Cafe San Francisco and enjoy traditional Christmas fixings, with choices from firsts and entrées
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015
11:30 am to 11:00 pm
Christmas Day, December 25, 2015
12 pm to 2 pm limited lunch menu
2 pm through 8 pm
Reservation recommended
New Years Day Brunch 10 am to 3 pm
Call us at 415.921.3944 to make a reservationpics of stephen curry shoes

In need of some special holidays plans for Christmas Eve, Day and New Years Day? PlumpJack Cafe at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn is the perfect please to celebrate the holidays. Nothing beats celebrating in the snowy mountains with friends and family.

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PlumpJack Wine & Spirits, Marina: Give amazing gifts this holiday season! From gift baskets/boxes and wooden boxes can be filled with the wine or spirit of your choice. Our gift baskets are packed with wine, spirits, beer, gourmet treats, and more. Custom gift boxes and baskets are also available. These gift packs are perfect for holiday gifting and special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, congratulations, corporate gifts and more.
Cocktail kits make a great gift for the experienced cocktail maker, or for a beginner trying to build their at home bar.
PlumpJack Wine & Spirits Clubs are the perfect gift that keeps on giving. With nine different clubs to choose from there is something for everyone. Wine, whiskey, champagne to gin, we have it all.
Try Forgery‘s new cocktail menu! A fun place to reunite with family and friends around the holiday season. Forgery recently made Playboys list of Best Bars in America, check out the article here.Give Back This Holiday SeasonWe love supporting great causes and charities, especially around the holiday season. For a special Thanksgiving meal our Chef from Balboa Cafe San Francisco prepared a delicious thanksgiving meal for 160 students at Holy Family Day Home in the mission.

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Wine and Beer Guide

With Thanksgiving just days away find out what our Noe Valley team at PlumpJack Wine & Spirits will be drinking with their turkey feast in this last minute Thanksgiving wine and beer guide.

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Molly’s Thanksgiving Beer Recommendations:

Almanac’s Dogpatch Grand Cru
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A bold, robust sour aged in red wine barrels for over a year with a blend Zinfandel, Syrah, Tannat, Petite Sirah, and Tempranillo grapes to create an intricately vinous, tannic, and exceptionally original brew. This elegant beer brings tannic red wine notes with tart, sour yeast components. Perfect with cranberry sauce.

Almanac’s Farmers Reserve Grand Cru
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Almanac’s Farmers Reserve was brewed as an ode to delicate and aromatic white wines. California-grown Muscat Blanc grapes were added to an imperial version of their sour blonde ale then aged in white wine barrels for over a year. Try this for a celebratory toast or a before dinner treat.

Firestone Walkers Velvet Merlin

Velvet Merlin oatmeal stout is the perfect beer to go with your Thanksgiving dessert. Rich chocolate and roasted coffee notes will complement the end of a delicious meal!

Stephanie’s Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations:
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Broc Cellars Love Red 2014

A light bodied red blend of Carignan, Valdigui, and Syrah this loveable red is perfect for the Thanksgiving dinner table. With notes of bright red fruits, wild flowers, and hints of earth and dried herbs this is sure to become a new favorite for the Thanksgiving dinner table. vc
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Robert Sinskey Pinot Gris 2012

With aromas and flavors of melon, ginger-spiced pear, almond and apple blossom this vibrant wine is a worthy dinner companion. Weighty on the mid-palate it is more than capable of holding its own amongst all the flavors a thanksgiving meal has to offer.

Elio’s Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations:
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Nusserhof Lagrien Riserva 2009
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I love this producer and the job that he does with Lagrein, an indigenous grape varietal from Alto Adige. Elegance, light tannins, a gentle spiciness and fresh acidity makes a perfect match for a turkey dinner and the works. Earthy stuffing with mushrooms and chestnuts, cranberry sauce and gravy will heavenly sing with this wine!
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San Fereolo, Coste di Riavolo, Langhe Bianco, 2011
This white wine comes from Piedmont. A blend of two varietals not very usual for this region, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, makes for a wine with kaleidoscopic aromatic nuances and a rich fruit palette. Apricot, lychee and passion fruits mixed with mineral notes making this wine an excellent companion for pumpkin dishes from soups to pies, as well as with crab (sorry no Dungeness this year!) and lobster biscuits.

Redefining Your Winter Wardrobe

This winter season here in Napa, we are yet again hoping for a season of true cold weather conditions and an abundance of rain. And while we’ll most likely at least get cooler temperatures, that’s a good enough reason for us to wear our winter coats and scarves. However, whether you’re here on the west or east coast, we all have become accustomed to reaching for the same neutral winter color palette and often fail to incorporate other colors that are often available but we tend to overlook.air jordan xvi

Find your wint-spiration below + enjoy!nike air max triax

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Balboa Cafe Mill Valley Announces New Exec Chef Howard Ko

Balboa Cafe Mill Valley Announces New Executive Chef Howard Ko
Critically Acclaimed Chef Brings Impressive Culinary Background,
Local and Seasonal Focus to New Role

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MILL VALLEY, Calif. – PlumpJack is excited to announce the appointment of Howard Ko to the position of executive chef at the Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, known for classic American bistro cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients.  Ko has worked at some of the most critically acclaimed culinary establishments in the United States, including The Restaurant at Meadowood with Christopher Kostow and The French Laundry with Thomas Keller, as well as Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Melisse in Los Angeles, Hanilkwan in Osaka, and DB Bistro Moderne, Picholine and Daniel in New York.
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“It is a privilege to welcome distinguished Chef Ko to the Balboa Cafe Mill Valley,” said Hilary Newsom.  “He brings a wealth of knowledge having worked at award-winning restaurants across the country and around the world, and we’re thrilled to bring his expertise to the restaurant’s culinary program.”
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Ko began his career in Los Angeles, mastering the art of pastry making and baking before relocating to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America.  As a student at the CIA, Ko assisted at Daniel on weekends to gain experience in the kitchen, doing everything from peeling potatoes to cleaning mushrooms.

Making the move to Wine Country as chef de partie at The French Laundry in Yountville, Ko worked the line and focused on creating new dishes for the daily changing menu.  From there he joined acclaimed chef Christopher Kostow at three Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood as chef de partie, where he assisted at all stations and mentored the commis.
Ko accepted a position as chef de cuisine at his third Wine Country restaurant, Goose & Gander in St. Helena, where he ran the kitchen and was responsible for putting a dramatic spin on the neighborhood eatery.  Ko also introduced a shared-plates concept, new flavors, and new techniques with the goal of bringing people together to taste different free runners

As executive chef at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, Ko will serve a seasonal menu with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, taking advantage of all that Northern California has to offer.  The menu will consist of market-driven bistro classics with modern twists.

Balboa Cafe Mill Valley is located at 38 Miller Avenue in the historic downtown Mill Valley.  For more information, please visit  For more information about The PlumpJack Group, please visit jordan xiii


Conversations with Hilary: Radio Personality, Hooman Khalili

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend and radio personality Hooman Khalili. You can catch him every morning on Alice Radio 97.3 FM – he has been part of the Sarah and Vinnie morning show for the past 16 years. Part of Hooman’s job is interviewing high-profile guests like Sting, John Travolta, Maroon 5 to name a few.
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In 2008 Hooman created the #1 most viewed non-partisan video to inspire the youth of America to get out and vote for the presidential election. The video received 5.1 million views on YOUTUBE and ended up in the museum of Radio and Television in NYC.
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I have known Hooman for more than 12 years and find him to be one of the most hard working and generous people I know. He is always willing to support my philanthropic efforts and participate in my myriad of events despite his busy schedule. I am grateful to have him share his thoughtful answers in this month’s Conversations with Hilary.
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Hooman and Hilary

Hooman and Hilary

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What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
The fact that my mom and are in America, we are Christians and we are American Citizens, would probably be at the top of the list. That may not seem like a traditional accomplishment but every great thing that has happened in my life is a result of those three things.
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My life is a miracle, and no matter what I’m going through, I remind myself of the unmerited grace that has set me up to thrive. Number two on my list (what many would consider a traditional accomplishment) is the fact that I am on the radio with Sarah, Vinnie, Uzette, Bryn and Vanessa! It’s a beautiful thing to be a member of the #1 morning show in the Bay Area. It’s a party everyday and it affords me the ability to contribute to a lot of charities and meet incredibly interesting people.
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Do you have a prized possession?
This is gonna sound sappy but there are a few. My relationship with my mom is a possession I treasure everyday. She’s the kindest person I know – always inconveniencing herself for others.
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My relationship with my coworker Sarah is another gift from above. Over the past 16 years she has stood up for me more times than I can count. And my third prized possession is my church, REALITY (in the mission). I’ve been to more than 300 churches in my lifetime and this one, hands down, is by far the very best church I’ve ever been to. It’s full of the spirit. I’ve been attending for a year and a half and 99% of the people I’ve brought have come back (atheists and Christians alike).
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What qualities do you think others love about you?
Wow this one is tough. It might seem odd to start with this but I like to provide value to the people that are my friends and acquaintances. I want to be a problem solver for my friends. I want to help them in their time of need. I also genuinely like people! I like to go out and meet everyone in the room if I can, I like to engage. When we meet I’m hopeful you and I will click. Lastly, if I know you are down, I will call, I will reach out, I will get you out of your house! I want you to get out of the pit, I want you to laugh and run and be silly again!

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Probably a full time movie maker, I’d also start my own Sirius Satellite radio station, and invent a new type of Yoga.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
In terms of my career – I’ve been with Sarah and Vinnie for 16 years now, and I can honestly say I like that every day is completely unpredictable. No matter what I’m personally dealing with, it has to take a back seat, the show must go on. But what I LOVE about my job is that people tune into us to laugh. Whether they are on their way to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or they are just alone . . .lonely! I love that we comfort people and put a smile on their faces
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What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Pray, truth be told, I actually wake up 30 min earlier then I need to so I can put the next 12 hours in the LORD’S hands. I used to wake up close to 4AM – I now wake up at 3:20 AM. Each day I have at least 100 decisions to make and 100 crossroads – without the prayer at least 90% of those decisions will be wrong.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Friday nights are special indeed – because I’m totally single, I don’t have a girlfriend, I don’t own a house, I don’t have any kids, I don’t have a wife . . . I go out every night of the week. Often by the time Friday rolls around the week has caught up with me and I just “pass the “F” out around 6PM. If a group of my friends get together for a happy hour on a Friday no matter how tired I am, I’ll rally. The feeling of a Friday night – the feeling of getting through the week is sweet.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Success, getting married, owning a house, accomplishing a lot of things, being admired.

What are you passionate about now?
The answer here is a bit on the long side so bear with me. Surrounding myself with people who are amazing, Church (, prayer, making movies, being part of the #1 morning show in the Bay Area, laughing, getting massages. I truly enjoy helping people and being there for them in their time of need. I love going out and there is always so much to do in San Francisco. My birthday is coming up, I’m passionate about throwing a great party where I can see my friends laugh, drink, dance and sing! Lastly I’m very passionate about taking big risks. Trying to accomplish things that are so much bigger then anything I am capable of doing in my own strength.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I’d have to say Summer. I like good weather. Summer time is usually when I travel and go on adventures. Music concerts during the Summer are usually the best.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
A solar-powered iPod that is fully loaded with everything I’d ever want to listen to. An unlimited supply of matches that were water proof. Some kind of fishing pole/Rambo knife that is perfectly effective on sea and land (if there could be a fourth a tent with a built-in bed and pillow)

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Probably a Mojito – (its usually what I order when I go out)

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Well it depends on what category – In Classical its Bach – Suite No.1 in G performed by Pablo Casals. . . In Pop Music it’s the Beatles either LET IT BE or BLACKBIRD. Lastly I love the song Knees to the Earth by Christy Nockels (Revolution Album Version).

Hooman with his adopted American family

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
It would have to be in this order; Jesus, Solomon from the Old Testament (David’s son), Mozart, Bach and The Apostle Paul.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Free Like a Bird – A life of Unmerited Grace

Do you have any regrets?
This a tricky question because I am exactly where I am supposed to be. If anything in my past were to change then I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. But that being said…I would have loved to have gone to some famous college like an NYU or a USC or Stanford.

Define Freedom.
Another tough question. Freedom for me Is being able to not attach my emotions to my circumstances. If I am truly able to do that, then I am free. Freedom is to be full of Joy and Peace even though I am surrounded by a war.

What are your personal core values?
God first. Even before the desires of my heart, my dreams, or my hopes. Help others even when it’s an inconvenience. Always pray, especially when I don’t want to. Forgive, even if the relationship after you forgive is not the same, still forgive, erase the resentment from your heart.