Summer Cocktail Sessions: Vermouth

sf_wildhawk_ab_2016-9435

Jacques Bezuidenhout’s collection of Vermouth. Photo Credit Antoinette Bruno for Star Chef’s piece on Vermouth.

Got Vermouth? Wildhawk, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, knows what it takes to produce seriously tasty cocktails using this sweet aperitif.

So what exactly is Vermouth, you ask? Vermouth is fortified wine flavored with various botanicals to add color and flavor. A few key ingredients you may taste include chamomile, coriander, juniper, gentian, saffron and wormwood. Traditionally white wine is used as the base to produce a dry liquor native to France. The Italians are known for sweet vermouth, made with red wine.
More of a potion than a drink, vermouth was originally used as a medicinal tonic because of the spices and botanicals. Today, it is an awesome tool for any barman and with the right compliments can become your quintessential summer sidekick. While it has a longer shelf life than wine, it will start to oxidize after a month, so it is best to store your favorite bottle in the fridge.

How do I enjoy Vermouth?
Vermouth is diverse, delicious served neat or chilled, or as the ultimate summer cocktail base. Find one you like, add a splash of soda and enjoy with a twist of citrus.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can tackle the vermouth cocktail. Wildhawk favorite, Hip Hops, incorporates grapefruit, pineapple and hops for a refreshing summer libation. Check out the recipe below and make it yourself at home!
4-160430_Wildhawk_HipHops_Instagram_0A9A4543-Edit
Hip Hops

2 ¼ oz Martini Ambrato
½ oz Grapefruit
½ oz Pineapple Gum
¼ oz Hops Tincture
Shake / D/Strain / Tall Sours
Garnish: Grapefruit Spiral

Can’t get enough vermouth? Visit Wildhawk in San Francisco and try their full menu of vermouth-based cocktails.

 

Vermouth Resources
At Wildhawk, vermouth is taken very seriously and veteran Bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout knows what he’s talking about when it comes to this underrated spirit:
Jeffers-Wildhawk-0259
“There are so many wonderful vermouths that are still undiscovered by many people, or are limited to consuming in Manhattans or Negronis. While classics are always loveable, sipping vermouth as a standalone drink is widely underrated. This is why we’ve implemented our vermouth program at Wildhawk – to give guests the opportunity to explore and learn more about the different styles of rosso, bianco and ambre. Vermouths are complex and chock full of aromas – chamomile, coriander, juniper, gentian, saffron and wormwood, to name a few. It’s great to play around with the different styles when developing cocktails! We feature an array of vermouths to be enjoyed neat or on the rocks and a curated selection of cocktails that are vermouth-forward. It’s also an aromatized and fortified wine, which means it’s low in alcohol content so guests can easily throw a couple back!”Jacques Bezuidenhout, partner, Wildhawk & Forgery in San Francisco

For more tips on how to drink and mix vermouth, check out his handy User’s Guide on Star Chefs!

A Journey Through Mexico Pop-Up at BCMV

Yucatan Mercado
Balboa Cafe Mill Valley (aka BCMV) is debuting a “Journey through Mexico” Pop-Up, highlighting regional flavors of Mexico that includes the Yucatan, Baja, Mexico City, and more. Executive Chef Howard Ko is partnering with Jacques Bezuidenhout and Ken Luciano of Forgery and Wildhawk bars, who will be behind the bar offering Tequila and Mezcal flights, plus signature cocktails to pair with Howard’s Mexican-inspired menu.
1606-SVI-307_1200x1800
The restaurant will feature the pop-up menu exclusively on August 28th for dinner service from 5-10pm. To make a reservation, call 415.381.7321 or book online through OpenTable.

 


Menu

Journey Through Mexico Pop-Up Menu

“Journey Through Mexico” Pop-Up Menu

JulyNewsletter_BonAppetiteAbout Howard Ko, Executive Chef Balboa Cafe Mill Valley
A renowned chef with a passion for innovative cuisine, Howard Ko is ideally suited to lead the culinary program at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley.  In his career to date, Ko has already worked at some of the industry’s most well-respected establishments – The Restaurant at Meadowood with Christopher Kostow, The French Laundry with Thomas Keller and in the kitchens of Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Melisse in Los Angeles, Hanilkwan in Osaka, and DB Bistro Moderne, Picholine and Daniel in New York.

Ko was raised in Koreatown in Los Angeles and fell in love with cooking at a very young age. After spending time in Los Angeles mastering the art of pastry making and baking, Ko traveled 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 off Main Street in St. Helena. As his final position before joining Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, Ko 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 flavors.

As Executive Chef at Balboa Café Mill Valley, Ko will serve a seasonal menu with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients taking advantage of all Northern California has to offer. The menu will consist of market driven bistro classics with modern twists. Howard Ko lives in Napa with his fiancée, Wendy, and dog, Whiskey, and when he’s not in the kitchen, enjoys CrossFit and growing his eclectic collection of cookbooks.

 

Pets Get Pampered at PlumpJack!

1603-Dog Ammenities-3 copy

The Hideaway Carmel is the perfect place to soak up dog-friendly Carmel-by-the-Sea with nearby beaches, downtown steps away and nearby hikes. Meanwhile, your pooch will appreciate all of the nice amenities, including a cozy bed, treats and their own water and food bowls.

BOOK NOW
DogFriendly

PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn is a dog paradise with miles of hiking trails; nearby rivers and lakes; plus their own table in the bar where they can take in Happy Hour from 4-6pm.

BOOK NOW
HunterTCI

The Carneros Inn is perfect for the posh pet that likes the finer things and enjoys lounging in a bed of lavender or relaxing on the stoop of your private cottage.

BOOK NOW

A Taste of Agave in the Sierra Mountains

Tequila TastingPlumpJack Cafe in Squaw Valley Inn has put together a weekend fit for Tequila and Mezcal lovers featuring Herradura, Del Maguey, Partida and more. Tequila ambassadors, chefs, barmen/women and guests all come together for three spirited events, kicking off with a Margarita Happy Hour in the PlumpJack Bar on Friday, October 6th. From there the weekend only gets sweeter with a four-course culinary pairing on Saturday and then a Libation Creation with a little dash of history and more, on Sunday (see below for more info). For those who want to stay at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn to really get to experience the activities and scenery, plus the comfort of the Inn, you can book our package with rates starting at $810 (15% off for a three-night stay, plus all the great perks). Package includes:

  • Breakfast daily
  • Welcome amenity
  • Two drink tickets for our Happy Hour and Margarita Match Up (October 6th from 4pm to close)
  • Dinner for two for a four-course culinary pairing menu (October 7th, 6pm in the PlumpJack Cafe)
  • Essene of Agave tasting for two  – History & Modern Influence, Libation Creation (October 8th, 2-4pm in the PlumpJack Cafe)

*pricing excludes all taxes and gratuity. Package must be reserved for all three nights, October 6th-9th . Please call 1.800.323.ROOM now to reserve your package

Tequila Mezcal WeekendAbout Chef Jack Connell, Executive Chef, PlumpJack Cafe
In his role as Executive Chef at PlumpJack Cafe, Jack Connell focuses on a seasonal, New American culinary approach utilizing modern techniques. Jack started his culinary journey in Ocean City, Maryland where he worked in a kitchen the summer before graduating from Xavier University in Ohio. From there, his passion for food brought him to several notable restaurants over a span of seven years including some time in Chicago working under Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand at Tru and Paul Kahan at Blackbird who mentored him and made him realize he wanted to take his culinary skills to the next level. His wanderlust took him to Lake Tahoe where he had his first stint at PlumpJack Cafe as sous chef for three years and then he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park where he excelled among his peers and graduated with the highest cumulative GPA in his accelerated class. After the CIA, Jack went to Philadelphia where he worked with Certified Master Chef Oliver Andreini at the Merion Cricket Club.

The outdoors and the pull of Lake Tahoe kept calling to him and he decided to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the big cities to pursue his culinary roots back in Tahoe to work as Chef de Cuisine at Bistro 22 in the Village at Squaw and then for the newly opened Ritz-Carlton at North Star, before making his way back to PlumpJack Cafe as sous chef under Executive Chef Wyatt Dufresne. In the Spring of 2015, Jack was promoted to Executive Chef at PlumpJack Cafe where he and Chef de Cuisine Shawn Arney lead a strong team of talented chefs and cooks. Together they turn out some of the best food in all of North Lake Tahoe. Jack takes pride in working closely with several local farms in the Sierra foothills and in nearby Reno to source ingredients and also adheres to the Monterey Bay Aquariums seafood watch program. He is passionate about the outdoors and has several hobbies that fit into the Tahoe lifestyle including skiing, sailing, hiking, biking, and camping. He also enjoys music, lasers, thrift store shopping, antique bicycles, and his expansive cookbook collection.

PlumpJack Cafe’s Summer Winemaker Dinner

We are excited to partner with our sister wineries in the Napa Valley to pair beautiful wines from PlumpJack Winery and Cade Estate Winery with Chef Jack Connell’s tasting menu. Please call to make a reservation 530-583-1578 or make a reservation online.

Guests who stay get 25% off their room rate when they attend the dinner. BOOK NOW

winemaker dinner plumpjack cafeAbout Chef Jack Connell, Executive Chef, PlumpJack Cafe
In his role as Executive Chef at PlumpJack Cafe, Jack Connell focuses on a seasonal, New American culinary approach utilizing modern techniques. Jack started his culinary journey in Ocean City, Maryland where he worked in a kitchen the summer before graduating from Xavier University in Ohio. From there, his passion for food brought him to several notable restaurants over a span of seven years including some time in Chicago working under Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand at Tru and Paul Kahan at Blackbird who mentored him and made him realize he wanted to take his culinary skills to the next level. His wanderlust took him to Lake Tahoe where he had his first stint at PlumpJack Cafe as sous chef for three years and then he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park where he excelled among his peers and graduated with the highest cumulative GPA in his accelerated class. After the CIA, Jack went to Philadelphia where he worked with Certified Master Chef Oliver Andreini at the Merion Cricket Club.

The outdoors and the pull of Lake Tahoe kept calling to him and he decided to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the big cities to pursue his culinary roots back in Tahoe to work as Chef de Cuisine at Bistro 22 in the Village at Squaw and then for the newly opened Ritz-Carlton at North Star, before making his way back to PlumpJack Cafe as sous chef under Executive Chef Wyatt Dufresne. In the Spring of 2015, Jack was promoted to Executive Chef at PlumpJack Cafe where he and Chef de Cuisine Shawn Arney lead a strong team of talented chefs and cooks. Together they turn out some of the best food in all of North Lake Tahoe. Jack takes pride in working closely with several local farms in the Sierra foothills and in nearby Reno to source ingredients and also adheres to the Monterey Bay Aquariums seafood watch program. He is passionate about the outdoors and has several hobbies that fit into the Tahoe lifestyle including skiing, sailing, hiking, biking, and camping. He also enjoys music, lasers, thrift store shopping, antique bicycles, and his expansive cookbook collection.

 

 

 

 

Five Ways to Father’s Day

0 HeaderFather’s Day is upon us and PlumpJack is ready to provide all sorts of great options for the dad in your life. Whether you’re an outdoors-y type or a pampered type, we have five perfect picks.

  1. Fly Fishing Package at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn – okay, so maybe your guy isn’t a big fly fisherman, but he really enjoys the mountain air. You can always just book a stay and not the package, but the package does include instruction from Matt Heron Fly Fishing outfitter, plus a bottle of Cade Sauvignon Blanc, and a choice between fresh-baked pastries in your room before departure or a cheese platter to end your day with. LEARN MORE
    CarnerosInn_2015_CF_0240
  2. The Modern Man Facial from the Spa at The Carneros Inn – There is a caveat to this, if you want to book this facial, which is totally amazing, you have to be a guest at The Carneros Inn. So that means the father in your life has to endure a stay at one of Napa’s premier resorts complete with two pools, three restaurants, bocce ball courts, 26 acres of beautiful landscape and more, plus. The facial perfectly caters to the needs of male skin and their daily rituals, the treatment provides vitality and enhanced energy while soothing irritation from shaving and moisturizing the skin for long-lasting results. Sounds like a fab Father’s Day, doesn’t it? THE SPA AT THE CARNEROS
    1605-Hideaway Lounge+
  3. A Golf Getaway in Carmel and a Stay at The Hideaway in Carmel – Venture to Carmel for some amazing golf and a stay at The Hideaway – book by June 30th and receive 25% off a 2-night stay – rates start at $199.
    Our favorite courses besides Pebble Beach:
    DEL MONTE Opened in 1897, Del Monte Golf Course is the oldest course in continuous operation west of the Mississippi.
    PACIFIC GROVE The most affordable golf experience on or near the Pacific Ocean. The entire back nine offers breathtaking views, and is adjacent to the famous 17 Mile Drive.
    BAYONET & BLACK HORSE Recent renovations have made the ‘must-play’ Monterey Peninsula layouts more scenic and a better overall test of golf.
    Jeffers-Wildhawk-0970 copy
  4. The House Martini at Wildhawk Bar – For $25 you get two ice-cold delicious martinis in one lovely serving, because we all know the second Martini is always a little bit more amazing than the first. WILDHAWK
    CadePJBottleShot
  5. Dads like Cabs! – PlumpJack is known for their robust and beautiful cabs. We can’t really suggest one in particular so we’ll just say that all of the estate and reserve cabs from each of our wineries are worth a taste – Odette Estate, PlumpJack Winery, CADE Estate Winery

Conversations with Hilary: Robb McDaniels, Music Entrepreneur

robbandmaryann-england (2)Robb is one of the coolest people I know. I met Robb through YPO (Young Presidents Organization) nearly six years ago. At that time I had Maxwell and Sade on repeat in my CD player, and while I still love their music, Robb has shown me the light and expanded my playlist to include a varied mix of artists I would have never been exposed to if it weren’t for him.

He is the founder and former CEO of INgrooves Music Group, the leading global music distribution and marketing company, and recently he founded Faction, a technology-enabled talent management company that provides a suite of resources and infrastructure to help the creative community manage their artist’s businesses.

Not only is he a highly successful entrepreneur, but he is a terrific father, and a loyal friend who is  hilarious and always up for an adventure. I am honored to call him a dear friend!  Enjoy my conversations with Robb.

image1What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
I was going to ask whether you wanted to know my greatest personal or professional accomplishment, but quickly realized it all ties back to the same thing. Early in my adult life, I decided that my goal in life was to positively impact as many people as possible through my work and relationships. My greatest accomplishment is my ongoing pursuit of this goal, which won’t end until this life comes to a close!


What qualities do you think others love about you?

I would like to think that the people around me in life love that I am generally happy, generous, dependable and willing to be unconventional and follow my own path. But maybe they just love that I can laugh at myself and the many jokes they all make at my expense.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Have a large farm or country house with a dog rescue facility.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
I am lucky enough to get to work in the music industry, so there are obvious perks of being able to see some of the most amazingly talented musicians up close and personal.  But it’s equally enjoyable to work with others who are so passionate about supporting the arts and the creative community.  It’s inspiring to me to see that passion at work every day.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Usually check my phone, although I am now trying to give myself a few moments to think about things I am grateful for and get myself in the right mindset for the day.

image3What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Given that I am out so much during the week for my job, I usually like to crack open a bottle of wine and cook a nice meal with my fiancée and/or two boys before watching a movie.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Sports, music and girls…and it took me a long time to grow up.

What are you passionate about now?
I am still growing up…but passionate just about one girl!  I also love my two boys, Declan and Owen, and am amazed at how fast they are growing up (much faster than me).

What’s your favorite season and why?
That’s a tough choice between winter (for skiing) and summer (for long days).  Skiing is my favorite activity to do in life; I live to ski.  But summer is just such a fun time of year, with the boys out of school and more available to do things and the long summer days leaving more time for outdoor fun.

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
A shot of really good tequila.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
U2’s “A Beautiful Day”

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My family.  It doesn’t happen enough. But I would ask them to invite Thomas Jefferson so I could ask him if it was OK for us to clarify the whole thing about the right to bare arms.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
The Rules Not Followed

Do you have any regrets?
I tend to correct or change anything I may have regretted in the past and therefore don’t dwell on it.  This is all just a learning experience so onwards and upwards!

Define Freedom.
Freedom is being able to love without fear and live without persecution.

What are your personal core values?
I value personal integrity, honesty, respect for others and seeing the best in people around me.

What three things would you bring with you on a desert Island?
My family, my music and an endless supply of Plumpjack wine!

Japanese Whisky & Izakaya Pop-Up at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley

Japanese Izakaya
Japanese Whisky and Izakaya pop-up at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, May 18th.

Chef Howard Ko of Balboa Cafe Mill Valley has created an impressive Izakaya menu reminiscent of the traditional Izakayas that are popular in Japan. We are presenting an exciting line-up of Japanese Whiskys, including Yamazaki 18yr, Yamazaki 12yr, Hakushu 18yr, Hakushu 12yr, Hibiki Harmony, Nikka Pure Malt, plus some great sakes, and Japanese beers.

Details:
Wednesday, May 18th (5:30-10pm)
Balboa Cafe, Mill Valley

BMVIzakayaPopUpMenu_May2016 (2)About Howard Ko
A renowned chef with a passion for innovative cuisine, Howard Ko is ideally suited to lead the culinary program at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley. In his career to date, Ko has already worked at some of the industry’s most well-respected establishments – The Restaurant at Meadowood with Christopher Kostow, The French Laundry with Thomas Keller and in the kitchens of Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Melisse in Los Angeles, Hanilkwan in Osaka, and DB Bistro Moderne, Picholine and Daniel in New York.

Ko was raised in Koreatown in Los Angeles and fell in love with cooking at a very young age. After spending time in Los Angeles mastering the art of pastry making and baking, Ko traveled 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 off Main Street in St. Helena. As his final position before joining Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, Ko 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 flavors.

As Executive Chef at Balboa Café Mill Valley, Ko will serve a seasonal menu with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients taking advantage of all Northern California has to offer. The menu will consist of market driven bistro classics with modern twists. Howard Ko lives in Napa with his fiancée, Wendy, and dog, Whiskey, and when he’s not in the kitchen, enjoys CrossFit and growing his eclectic collection of cookbooks.

Carmel Tastemaker: Shelly Mitchell Lynch, Carmel Realty Company

ShellyMitchell2
Shelly is fourth generation Carmel. She definitely knows her way around and is well-versed on all of the great Carmel events that take place throughout the year. And if you decide that you’d like to have a place of your own in Carmel, Shelly is a great person to help you make that happen as she proudly continues the family tradition in the local real estate business which was established in 1913.

What do you believe to be Carmel’s hidden treasures that the locals mostly know about that you don’t mind sharing with visitors?

  • Foxy Couture for amazing vintage finds and GBG for retail therapy.
  • The Cheese Shop in Carmel Plaza and Ken is amazing at pairing wines. Their cheese of the month club is dangerous.
  • Everything at Big Sur Bakery—an extension of Carmel (worth the drive!). Wildflowers at Soberanes (see hike below).
  • I am a terrible cook so cooking classes with Chef Justin at Aubergine are so amazing and very fun to do with a group of friends.
  • Barre class at Carmel Barre.
  • Roux restaurant in CV Village (new and so unique).
  • Breakfast  (or the cheeseburger) at La Bicyclette; Cauliflower at La Balena; Unique flower arrangements from Lolo at Burst and Bloom and Twiggery; The Hulk (healthy green juice), the Power Lunch and a Zoomeric from Good to Go in Crossroads. Chris Winfield Gallery on Dolores, Surf lessons with Noah Greenberg…. I could go on forever….
1603-GBG-3

GBG Boutique

For the outdoor enthusiasts, do you have any favorite hiking/biking trails or other outdoor “must see/do” recreation opportunities?

  • I am an avid hiker and my favorite hike is Soberanes or Garapata Ridge Trail. It’s an incredible trail, about a two hour hike that passes through cactus gardens, redwood forests, cross streams, up the face resplendent with wildflowers and poppies depending on the time of year, and ocean views to Big Sur all the way down the mountain. I never get sick of it, never. We are so lucky to live here. I love a good Big Sur hike and Snively’s at Garland Ranch in Carmel Valley is  another great steep hike for a workout where you can still have cell service if you need it (I know, sounds crazy and defeats the purpose, but sometimes a must).

Where do you go for a really great cocktail?

  • Without a doubt, I go to Grasings and have Ira mix up a New fashioned or a Natural.
  • The Bench at Pebble Beach Lodge has fire pits and a delicious drink called a Benchwarmer.
  • Outside Carmel, they have really unique craft cocktails at 1833 in Monterey in the old Stokes Adobe.

Carmel is known for putting on some really great events, what’s your favorite and why? For me, the Concours D’Elegance in August  is the most fun week of the year.  Many locals dislike the crowds that week, but I welcome it and love the excitement. It’s a great event for Carmel. Parties have become so extreme, from the Carmel Realty/Christie’s kickoff party after Cars on the Avenue to the Jet Center Party at the Monterey Jet Center to the historic races at Laguna Seca and the myriad of small private parties that week sponsored by the likes of Bentley, Bugatti, Rolls Royce and more. I also adore GourmetFest,  which is coming right up and founded by  David Fink and Relais et Chateaux, simply incredible food only rivaled by  the Tasting Tents during The Pebble Beach Food and Wine festival.

Someone visiting Carmel who wants to picnic on the beach, what are your suggestions, i.e. 1603-Carmel Cheese Shop-4 copywhat to pack, where to get picnic accoutrements, and which beach to go to.
Picnics on the beach area a must. River Beach is beautiful for a picnic but the water is not safe to swim so we opt for a to-go order from Cheese Shop or a 5th Street deli basket and then go to Carmel Beach. Always pack warm clothes  as when the sun goes down it can be cold. Good options for the beach are s’mores, wine, maybe a little cheese and charcuterie, what more do you need?

What do you love most about living in Carmel?
Everything I listed, plus the beauty and sophistication of the town, plus the diversity of shops, galleries, restaurants, people, dogs, spas, outdoor activities – all against the a natural backdrop that visually changes every day – I never tire of it. I love my job of escorting people into the community and guiding them to discover all that this area has to offer and seeing some of the most beautiful real estate on the planet.