Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Taste of Agave in the Sierra Mountains

Tequila TastingA Weekend Celebrating Tequila & Regional Mexican Inspired Cuisine
PlumpJack 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 13th-15th. 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 (25% 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 13th from 4pm to close)
  • Dinner for two for a four-course culinary pairing menu (October 14th, 6pm in the PlumpJack Cafe)
  • Essene of Agave tasting for two  – History & Modern Influence, Libation Creation (October 15th, 2-4pm in the PlumpJack Cafe)

*pricing excludes all taxes and gratuity. Package must be reserved for all three nights, October 13th-15th . Please call 1.800.323.ROOM now to reserve your package

View Itinerary

Teq-Mez Weekend
About 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 cialis pas cher paris

expansive cookbook collection.

 

 

 

 

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?

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.

Carmel Tastemaker: Chloe Dolata of Carmel Belle

Chloe Dolata with her Carmel-native husband Jay, have operated Carmel Belle Café for seven years. It’s a popular spot for breakfast, lunch and early dinner for both locals and travelers seeking a little local flavor. Chloe obviously has great taste in restaurants, so when we asked, she happily obliged to share some of her favorite culinary haunts.

What are your favorites on the Carmel Belle menu that you would suggest to someone visiting?
For breakfast – roasted mushroom melt, polenta with all the fixins’, or the open-faced egg bacon and arugula sandwich. And for ​lunch – Meatloaf

sandwich, grilled Cheddar with roasted tomato soup, or one of our delicious healthy salads.

For the food & wine enthusiast visiting Carmel, what are the must-visit spots and/or must order dishes?

  • La Belena — octopus & cauliflower appetizers are fabulous…but really everything is.
  • Akioni Sushi — very authentic and a serious place…but very good! Get the housemade tofu, mushroom stew when in season.​
  • Casanova — amazing ambiance, great food and wine.
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Casanova Restaurant, Carmel

What do you love most about Carmel?
The natural beauty. No street lamps. Close to the ocean and Big Sur is not too far down Hwy 1.

Conversations with Hilary: Jacques Bezuidenhout, Bar Star

With the recent opening of Wildhawk, I found it fitting to feature the genius behind the cocktails, Jacques Bezuidenhout. A Johannesburg native, Jacques became captivated by the cocktail and spirits culture in London and then decided to take the great American bus adventure to discover the lay of the land. Thankfully for us, he found his favorite American city in San Francisco and officially planted roots here in 1997.

Jacques is a partner in both Wildhawk and Forgery, and is also a National Brand Ambassador for Partida Tequila and Campari. Both Jacques and partner Ken Luciano have worked extremely hard this past year to open two amazing bars, with one getting ready to celebrate it’s one year anniversary (Forgery) and the other celebrating its opening (Wildhawk), the future looks bright for our two bar stars.

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?

Family and friends. My relationship with my family, friends and Alexis is my best accomplishment. Without any of them, nothing else really matters. I feel in that regard I have not accomplished as much as I can. I can always be a better friend, family member, son, father, brother or partner.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I hope my passion, generosity and sometimes my jokes.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I wish I had the talents to be an Architect. I have always loved the talents and creativity of Architects. Designing something and then building it – Gaudy and Frank Gehry leave beautiful marks on this world.

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
The creativity and the people. I love the creative process about putting a bar idea

together and then the people you work with and the people you serve bring everything together and make it special.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Kiss Alexis good morning and then slowly try and figure out my first cup of coffee.

The Wildhawk bar team

The Wildhawk bar team

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
That could be many things. It could be something at home or out in a city. Usually involves either a cocktail or some food. I love our culture of food and liquids. Every day is a new adventure in food, wine and spirits.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Basketball. I wanted to be a professional basketball player in the NBA. I loved the process of constantly shooting a ball every day and going through the process of getting better and improving.

What are you passionate about now?
Food, spirits and worldly culture.

What’s your favorite season and why?
Fall. I grew up in constant beautiful summer in Johannesburg so never experienced fall until I moved, and I love it. I love fall on the East Coast. Leaves change. Food changes. Smells change. You start to feel that chill and smell wood smoke in the air.

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
A Negroni. Maybe a little misunderstood, a little bitter, but full of complexity and fun at the same time. It’s the kind of cocktail that makes you happy at any part of the day.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Jay Z – Ain’t No love like the Heart of the City.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
I always go back to Nelson Mandela or Madiba as he is affectionately referred to back home. I would just love to connect with such a special person. Try and understand his Grace to humanity after everything he went through.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
I hope it’s a Will Farrel movie. Somewhere between Step Brothers, Semi-Pro and Other Guys, with a little sprinkle of the movie Cocktail and a small part of a River Runs Through It. So a little like a cocktail. Many small parts, all good.

Jacques behind the bar at Forgery

Jacques behind the bar at Forgery

Do you have any regrets?
Yes. I believe we all do but for the most part I am happy with my choices and decisions. I would say the biggest regret is not having more daily time with my Daughter or loved ones.

Define Freedom.
Freedom to me would be an open world of travel. No borders and an unlimited flight, hotel and food expense account.

What are your personal core values?
Love. Passion. Life.

What three things would you bring with you on a desert Island?
Alexis, Partida Reposado and Pasta Arrabiata and if I could smuggle a fourth then a few cases of great wine.

The Carneros Inn Unveils $6.5 Million Renovation

PJNewsletter_Collage_March2016
The Carneros Inn in Napa Valley gets ready to unveil first phase of $6.5 million renovation, which includes a new wedding venue, enhancements to the family pool, new guest reception area, and refreshed cottages. Expected timeline of completion is early spring.

“We’re constantly striving to provide our guests at The Carneros Inn with the highest quality amenities and premier accommodations in Napa Valley,” says Vice President of Resort Operations, Philip Kendall. “These renovations showcase our efforts to complement the region’s distinct charm and our unique countryside location, and ultimately, are a testament to our goal of staying current and fresh among our loyal consumer base.”

Designed by Napa-based firm Shopworks, the new Guest Reception building is relocated near FARM restaurant. Guests will be welcomed with a new porte-cochère, water feature, and modern outdoor seating. The guest reception’s interior design will be an extension of the property’s charming countryside appeal with white battened walls, a front desk made of walnut with Carrera marble top, oversized mirrors to reflect the surrounding scenery, fresh cut flowers, orange and white furniture, as well as limestone flooring. By June 2016, the former guest reception area near the Hilltop Dining Room will be converted into two 500-square-foot owners’ lounge and board meeting space.

The Wedding Garden, the property’s main outdoor wedding venue, will receive a $1 million renovation with significant enhancements that include a beautifully planted trellis, an opulent water feature, lavish exterior landscaping, as well as drought tolerant and heel friendly turf, all of which overlook the surrounding Napa Valley vineyards and mountains. On the other end of the 27-acre property, the Family Pool will add an elevated deck with a shade trellis, new luxury padded lounges and furniture, fresh paint, and lush landscaping.

Additionally, the property’s 86 cottages and 10 suites are undergoing more than $2.8 million in soft renovations. The first phase to 40 cottages will be completed in 2016, with the remaining cottages completed in 2017. Keeping in line with the existing sun-washed space, the cottages will receive a lighter and crisper neutral color palette, including charcoal grey, white, dark purple, and accents with the Carneros orange. Bathroom renovations will include new heated tile flooring, counter-tops, bathroom fixtures, and soaking tubs. The cottages will also receive contemporary furniture and lighting, as well as soft goods, such as bedding, drapes, and accessories. Lastly, the cottages will install new TVs and media packages. The Hilltop pool will also add stylish lounge seating and eight cabanas, and the onsite gym will receive new flooring later this year.

Book your stay today!

Spring Savings of Up to 25% Off PlumpJack Hotels

 

PJNewsletter_collage_March 2016PlumpJack’s New Carmel Hotel, The Hideaway, is Offering a Pre-Opening Special –
25% OFF When You Book by March 31st

Reserve your room prior to March 31st, 2016 and receive 25% off a 2 night, mid-week stay. Enjoy PlumpJack’s newest hotel in the heart of downtown Carmel, just steps away from the ocean. We are excited to unveil our intimate 24-room Inn April 18th. Learn More

Valid for stays 4/18/16-10/31/2016, excludes holidays. CLICK HERE TO BOOK NOW!

SVIBeerDinner_CollageBrewmaster Dinner March 31st & 25% Off Your Guestroom
PlumpJack Cafe is celebrating their last dinner series on March 31st with a Brewmaster dinner featuring Brewing Lair. Enjoy a 5-course chef’s tasting menu paired with Brewing Lair beer for $50 ($40 without beer flights). Make a Reservation

When you book your reservation, stay with PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn and get 25% OFF your stay. BOOK NOW
PJNewsletter_Collage_March2016If You’re “Inn” a Napa State of Mind –
Enjoy The Carneros Inn’s Lowest Rates of the Season

The Carneros Inn is making lots of updates to the grounds and the cottages. Book any cottage, suite or home for three or more nights – March 1st through December 31st and receive our lowest rate of the season. BOOK NOW
*Discount is already reflected in rate. Subject to availability; blackout dates will apply. May not be used with any other offer.

PlumpJack Does Easter Brunch Better than the Rest

PlumpJack does Easter Brunch better than the rest. With restaurants spanning from San Francisco and Marin to Napa and all the way up to the Sierra Mountains, you’re guaranteed a spot at the table. Enjoy the classics like the Balboa Huevos Rancheros or some upgrades on some classics, like PlumpJack Cafe’s Cinnamon Challah French Toast. See below for menus, links to make reservations and more.

FARM at The Carneros Inn
View Menu and Make a Reservation 
Boon Fly Café at The Carneros Inn
Will be serving their regular brunch menus from 7am to 3pm
Make a Reservation 
Balboa Cafe San Francisco
View Menu 
Balboa Café Mill Valley
Make a Reservation 
160215_Avocado_Toast_Low_Res_08_0A9A3136 copy
PlumpJack Cafe
View Menu and Make a Reservation
Join us on the upper pool patio for an Easter egg hunt at 11:00 am
SVI Cafe Photos March 2014 - 111