• Oh, Have A Taste!

    by Richard Oh

    Asian infused ribs…

    by Richard Oh

    richard 2This was the idea of Chef Luis Osorio from Lalla Grill located at Del Monte Shopping Center, Monterey.  The chef and owner Pat Ottone created an extensive menu that will please everyone in your group.  They offer waffles to tacos to burgers to steaks, numerous salad choices, pastas, and scrumptious desserts.  They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The flavors are authentic to match the origin of the country where the dish was first created.

    Pat and Chef Luis are putting their pizza making skills to good use. They both attended a pizza school in San Francisco taught by a world-renowned pizza chef.  It was an intense week long course. Pat just installed a new pizza oven and pizza dough mixer., so they make the dough fresh daily. The new pizza oven can fully cook a pizza in four minutes.  It produces high extreme heat up to 800˚ F. Now that’s hot!  The outcome is a nice crunchy crust on the outside with a soft delicate inside.

    I tried the wild mushroom pizza and it was delightful. Try one for yourself.

    Lalla Grill has a wide range of beers, nice wine list, amazing cocktails, outside seating, and a beautiful bar.  The staff is attentive and will take care of you.  I’m glad that Luis seeks to cultivate his culinary skills as well as adding inventiveness to the wonderful gastronomic experiences that he creates.  Please visit Chef Luis and his remarkable staff soon.

    The Sauce:

    1 cup orange juice
    ½ cup hoisin sauce
    ½ cup chili garlic sauce
    ½ cup oyster sauce
    ½ cup black bean sauce
    1 TSP Siracha sauce
    2 TSP brown sugar

    Add all ingredients in a large bowl and mix.  Then transfer it into a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil on medium heat stirring occasionally.

    The Ribs:

    3 TSP whole mustard seed
    2 TSP whole black pepper
    2 TSP coriander seed
    1 cup white wine vinegar
    1 cup white wine
    ½ cup soy sauce
    3 Tsp. minced ginger
    Full rack of ribs


    Cut the ribs into individual pieces.  Place the ribs in a large pot and add enough water to cover the ribs.  Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl then add to the pot.  Bring to a slow boil on low to medium heat for three hours.   Let it cool then drain the water.  Make sure the ribs are pretty dry.  Then heat rice or canola oil in a medium pot.  When it’s nice and hot carefully place four to six ribs for 3-4 minutes.   Transfer the ribs into the sauce and toss.  Plate the ribs with sticky rice and red cabbage as shown.  Or you may use other vegetable to your liking.  The ribs will have a nice crunch on the outside and very tender and moist on the inside.  You can add more or less of the Siracha to adjust the spiciness.  I like mine more on the spicier side.  These were some of the tastiest and more flavorful ribs I’ve ever had.  Frying them briefly added a nice texture and captured the moistness on the inside.  You’ll go crazy over these ribs.

    The wine:

    2010 Paraiso Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands.  The grapes are all estate grown.  They used four different clones in making this wine.  It was aged in oak for 11 months.  The wine has a nice structure with bright acid.  I got cherries, strawberries, earthy undertones, hints of raspberries, with a spicy finish.  It transitions very nicely from start to finish.  Lalla Grill offers it by the glass and bottle.  It’s a great compliment to the ribs as well as the pizza and many other items on the menu.  The winemaker, David Fleming, did a fabulous job in producing an enchanting Pinot Noir.  He is passionate in what he does and it shows in every bottle that he creates.  Keep up the good work Dave.  Visit www.paraisovineyards.com for more information.

    If you have any questions or comments, please email them to me:  Richard@ottercovewines.com

    The Cuban…

    by Richard Oh

    Monterey gets a year-round farmer’s market.  But this isn’t your usual market.  The Wharf Marketplace offers fresh local sustainable seafood, direct from the farm produce and fruits, fresh squeezed juices and smoothies, breakfast items, sandwiches, pizzas, cheese, coffee, wine shop, and wines by the glass.  They have seating inside and out so one can enjoy lunch or sip on local wines at your leisure.  It is the former Southern Pacific train station close to Fisherman’s Wharf.  The Wharf Marketplace was inspired by San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza and Seattle Pike’s Place Market from the owners of Tanimura and Antle.   Tanimura & Antle has been around since 1982 and has grown to be one of agricultural industry leaders.  They are committed to producing premium quality products and are found at the Marketplace along with other local produce.  They feature seasonal items from local growers.  And if they can’t find them locally, they will get them from other farmers throughout California.  So you will not find produce or fruits from other states or from another country.

    richard for 11-1-13The Marketplace is managed by Brant Good who used to be an Executive Chef at the Sardine Factory.  So he knows food from produce to fruits to seafood to spices as well as wine.  Brant knows fresh and offers great advice to the customers.  He is friendly and knowledgeable so stop by and ask him anything about food.  The Wharf Marketplace is located at 290 Figueroa Street, Monterey.   They are open seven days a week from 7:00 A.M. to 7 P.M. except on Tuesdays.  They close at 2:00 in observance of Monterey’s Downtown Farmer’s Market.  Come out and taste what Monterey County has to offer and support local.

    The sandwich:

    The Cuban has roasted pork, on top of ham, salami, pickles, Salinas Valley Swiss cheese, pressed on fresh local baked Cuban bread, served with mustard and mayo.  The sandwich is meaty and the flavors of the tropics come to mind.  Like when they slow roast the whole pig in the ground.  All the ingredients work together beautifully to give your mouth a sensation wanting another bite.  The Cuban was a common sandwich consumed by the workers at cigar and sugar factories in Cuba.  It made its way to America via Florida back in late 1800’s.  It’s still served in many restaurants and very popular with locals and tourists.  So popular that in April 2012, the “Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich” was designated as the “signature sandwich of the city of Tampa” by Tampa’s city council (reported by Tampa Bay Times).   Come hungry because the sandwich is sure to fill you up.

    The wine:

    2011 Antle Wines Syrah, Chalone, Monterey County.  The grapes are 100% estate grown from Antle Vineyard.  The soil along with the climate makes a great location to grow Syrah.  Its dark ruby hues is pleasing to the eye, you’ll get light spice up front, dark cherries, blackberries, herbal notes, earthy undertones, with soft tannins.   Grab a Cuban and enjoy a glass of the Syrah at the Marketplace and taste for yourself.

    If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me:  Richard@ottercovewines.com.  Cheers!













    Beach House in Pacific Grove: this is the way to dine

    by Richard Oh

    It’s great to see the former location of the Old Bath House open up as the new Beach House Restaurant at Lover’s Point, Pacific Grove.  There were a few delays that push back the opening date several months but I’m glad they endured the setbacks and opened a beautiful restaurant with amazing views.  If you haven’t dined at the Beach House, you are missing out.  They offer a diverse menu, very nice ambiance, great service, full bar, and views views views.  This is the way to dine.  One can choose from escargot to oysters on the appetizer menu and from burgers to lobster tail from the entrée menu.  They also have an astounding sunset dinner (early bird dinner).  I’m happy to see such entrees like sole, meatloaf, chicken, salmon, and pork loin for under $10.  But you have to order before 6:00.  They have seating out on the glass enclosed deck with heat lamps, as well as the bar, or in the main dining area.

    The owners Kevin Phillips and Jim Gilbert did it again.  They have the golden touch.  They also own Gilbert’s Restaurant and Abalonetti’s both on Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey.  To have a successful restaurant, one must operate on all cylinders all the time.  The staff is so important from the kitchen to the wait staff to the bussers to the host to the bartenders, and of course management.  Which leads me to Jeremy Phillips the general manager.  He is a young and ambitious man with lots of drive.  He is 29 years old with 15 years experience in the restaurant business and has been around it his whole life.  His dad is the co-owner.  Jeremy has worked at many local establishments gathering a wealth of knowledge and experience from some of the greats like; Bill Lee, John Pisto, Coastal Luxury Management, and of course his father Kevin Phillips and his partner Jim Gilbert.  Jeremy spent some time at Cal Poly studying business, but his passion for food, beer, and wine could not be surpassed.  He is Cicerone certified and is currently moving towards sommelier certification.   A Cicerone is a person who has been chosen to designate those with proven expertise in selecting, acquiring and serving today’s wide range of beers.  Thus, Jeremy can pair beer with your entrée as a sommelier would with food and wine.  This is his first position as a general manager and he loves the challenges and rewards of running a new and feverish restaurant.  Please visit him and his staff soon.  Call 831-375-2345 for reservations or visit www.beachhousepg.com for more info.  They are open at 4:00 daily.

    The dish:

    Seared scallops with lobster bisque sauce.


    3 Bacon Slices, Diced
    2 Lobster Tails, Rough Chopped, Shell On
    3 oz. Cognac
    1 Carrot, Diced
    1 Onion, Diced
    2 C Water
    1 C Tomato Puree
    1 C Heavy Cream


    Lobster bisque…

    Using a large pot, render bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside for garnish. Sautee tails and shells in olive oil until heated through. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of flour. Add carrot and onion and sauté together over medium heat until shells have turned in color and vegetables have softened.

    Carefully add the cognac and reduce until alcohol is mostly absorbed. Add water and tomato puree and simmer to reduce again. After 5-6 minutes of simmering, add heavy cream and sugar and continue to reduce for several minutes.  Once the bisque is hot, remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly. Using a food processor, pulse the shells and vegetables slightly, adding lemon juice for flavor, if desired. Pass through a fine mesh strainer and back into pot. Season with salt and pepper. Return to low heat to keep warm.

    richard scallops Seared scallops:

    Remove side muscle from each scallop and pat dry. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and bring a small sauté pan to high heat (using olive or grape seed oil). Once oil is hot, carefully place each scallop into pan and sauté 1-2 minutes until browned evenly on both sides and cooked to desired texture.

    Ladle bisque into a bowl and arrange the scallops evenly on the bottom. Scatter bacon pieces and top with parsley or chervil.

    The chefs:

    Chefs Briana Sammut and Guillaurme D’Angio are the dynamic duo in the kitchen creating the delicious cuisine at the Beach House.  Briana was the pastry chef at Crema, also of Pacific Grove, and Guillaurme was the sous chef at Cantinetta Luca located in Carmel.  Now they run the kitchen as co-executive chefs creating culinary delights for all of us to enjoy.  Briana is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York and Guillaurme attended Poitiers Culinary Academy in France.  I feel their backgrounds and heritage adds a nice flare to the delightful epicurean inspirations they produce.  The above recipe was brought to you by Briana and is being featured at the Beach House.  I’ve had the pleasure of pairing several of her creations in the past and am looking forward to many more.  She is pleasant to work with and creates amazing palette pleasing gastronomic fare.  Please visit them soon and taste their culinary skills.

    richard otter cove at beach houseThe wine:

    2010 Otter Cove Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey.  This is a single vineyard from Paraiso Wines.  It started in stainless steel then aged in neutral oak.  It went through partial malolactic fermentation.  You’ll get butter up front, tropical fruits in the mid palette, with a hint of vanilla on the finish.  It’s a nice refreshing wine that pairs great with many different seafood items.  The Beach House offers the Otter Cove Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the Syrah to pair with many of the wonderful menu selection or to sip while enjoying the breathtaking views.

    Tree House Café

    by Richard Oh

    The Tree House Café opened August 5, 2013.  What a great addition to Carmel.  This restaurant offers a wide range of palette pleasing entrees.  It truly is an international affair.  They have dishes from Greece, Italy, Thailand, Mexico, and also American cuisine.  Everything is prepared on a daily basis and made to order.  The pasta is created next door each day so you know it’s fresh.  They offer dining on their beautiful heated deck with red umbrellas.  This is a very nice way to dine.  They are open daily for lunch and dinner.  Please visit them soon; you’ll thank me for it.  On the South West side on San Carlos St. between 7th and 8th, 831-626-1111.

    The owners

    Fadi and Pam Nimri along with Bob Zernicke are proud owners of the Tree House Café.  Fadi is also the managing partner who hosts, cooks, waits tables, and runs food.  His wife Pam also waits tables, cooks, and is an all-around support system.  Bob is mainly in the background and has contributed in the décor, layout, and takes care of the financial well-being of the restaurant.

    Fadi first got his restaurant experience at Ocean Sushi back in the late 90’s.  He then continued in the business at his brothers Faris and Faisal’s restaurant, International Cuisine, located in Pacific Grove.  He worked as a server and also helped in the kitchen.  Fadi wanted to open his own restaurant someday so in 2009 an opportunity came up and he jumped at it.  It was a sushi bar in Downtown Monterey called Sakana.  It was a good start for being on his own but it wasn’t the perfect spot.  So he then opened Athena in Carmel Valley and operated it successfully until it was sold in 2012.  However, his pursuit for the perfect location lead him to Carmel-by-the-sea.  He is dedicated to making a difference in the way you dine.  I’m glad he brought his talents to Carmel.  The restaurant is decorated nicely and offers outside seating on its dog-friendly deck.

    The salad

    There were many items I wanted to feature from the diverse menu.  I chose the arugula salad with grilled prawns.  I did so because of the wine.  This salad is light and delicious.  The dressing is house made with olive oil, cumin, garlic, cilantro, and parsley.  It’s a nice meal anytime of the year especially on a warm day sipping on a cold Pinot Gris.  I love how all the flavors collided in my mouth.

    The wine

    Manzoni 2012 Pinot Gris, Santa Lucia Highlands.  SLH is a perfect region for growing Pinot Gris.  The warm afternoons give way to breeze and cool nights with foggy mornings.  This allows the grapes to have a longer hang-time which intensifies the flavors without compromising the sugar.  The Manzoni Pinot Gris has enchanting aromas of mandarin oranges and apples. It has a nice mouth feel and I like how it flows from start to finish.  It is light, with apples and pear notes, and bright crisp acid.  It’s drinking very nicely right now.  It will pair well with seafood, light chicken dishes and creamy sauces.  You can visit their tasting room on San Carlos and 7th in Carmel.

    Jumbo prawns

    10 jumbo or medium sized prawns
    1 tsp. olive oil
    1 tsp. melted butter
    ½ tsp. finely chopped garlic
    Salt and pepper to taste
    2 Skewer sticks


    Clean and devein the prawns.  Let dry on paper towel.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix.  Place the prawns and ingredients in a large freezer bag and let sit in refrigerator for 40 minutes.  Pre-heat grill on medium heat for five minutes.  Put prawns on skewer and put on the grill.  3 to 4 minutes each side.  Place on salad and drizzle the dressing over the prawns and salad.  Enjoy!

    richard grilled prawns


    Yafa offers Mediterranean cuisine with flair

    by Richard Oh

    Yafa is a port city in Jordan: it also literally means “beautiful.” The owner and partner, Ben Khader was born and raised in Amman, Jordan, to a Palestinian father and an American mother. As a teenager in Jordan, he worked as a baker on a wood-fired oven.In 2004 he came to the United States to attend school at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. He also worked as a police dispatcher for five years with the police department while attending school. Ben wanted to further his education and decided to move to Monterey. He earned a degree in International Business from California State University at Monterey Bay. Soon after he worked a short stint at the American Embassy in Paris, France. After returning to the Monterey Bay area, he began to work with fellow Jordanian Faisal Nimri, the renowned chef at Carmel’s Dametra Café. Dametra is one of the busiest restaurants on the Peninsula. It’s known all over and has achieved the number four spot on Yelp throughout the US. Now that’s impressive.

    Walking home after work one night, Ben and Faisal spotted a space on the corner of Junipero and Fifth in Carmel, and knew what they had to do. Ben always dreamt of having his own restaurant and now it’s become reality. With the help from Faisal, Ben has now become a proud owner of Yafa, a Mediterranean cuisine restaurant. “Serving food that grandmother would be proud of.” They will also play music and dance as you dine in their nicely decorated dining room. Khader and Nimri have raised their passion for food, music and hospitality to an art. The menu offers something for everyone: from seafood to chicken to lamb and vegetarian dishes. It will please everyone in your group. Here are some of their more popular dishes:

    One of the most popular is the grilled octopus with capers, oregano, olive oil, shallots, garlic, and lemon. The octopus is mild and tender with zest. This is one of my favorites. We paired it with the Otter Cove Chardonnay. The Chardonnay offers butter up front, tropical fruits with a hint of vanilla on the finish. The food and wine flowed very nicely together. The flavors of butter and bright acid from the wine complimented the olive oil, seasoning and octopus.


    The other popular dish is the cubed watermelon salad with feta cheese, basil, and pine nuts, with drizzled olive oil. It’s light and energizing. We paired it with the Listel Rose. The wine offers delicate fruits, it’s clean, refreshing with a hint of sweetness. It’s made from three different grapes, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault. The fruit flavors from the wine balanced the salad and didn’t overpower it.


    The beef and lamb kebob rounded out the top three dishes at Yafa. The meat was perfectly cooked…moist and flavorful. It comes with cucumber yogurt, seasoned rice, and tzatziki. We paired it with the Oh Pinot Noir. You’ll get dark cherries, hints of raspberries and chocolate with a silky finish. This was a elegant pairing. The food and wine went amazingly well together.


    Yafa is very inviting and comfortable. They offer good value for the money. Their portions are very healthy so come hungry and bring family and friends so you can share. Ben will treat you like family. You will not be disappointed. This place will soon be a favorite among many. Call (831) 624-9232 for reservations. On the corner of Junipero and 5th, Carmel.

    The Enhanced Monterey Crepe Recipe

    by Richard Oh

    The Monterey Crepe Company came to fruition in the fall of 2003. The first location is on Wave Street and a second is located on Alvarado St. The owner Mohamed Ibessaine was born and raised in Algers, Algeria and after visiting his wife’s (Andrea Coniglio-Ibessaine) family in Monterey fell in love with the area. It’s because Monterey reminded him so much of home. He loved his wife’s Sicilian heritage and the parallels between their cultures. He knew that someday he wanted to plant his own roots in Monterey. With parenthood approaching they decided to move to Monterey to be close to the family and feel that sense of pride and deep connection. Having spent so much time in Paris they wanted a way to bring all their worlds together. The best way to bring everyone together of course is with food. The Peninsula is famous for amazing local food but was missing accessible big city street food. With their deep nostalgia for Paris what could be better than crepes? Crepes are on every corner in Paris and anyone from tourists to real foodies can enjoy them. An old friend of the family was selling his Wave Street business and by coincidence or fate Mohamed walked in and they made the connection. A few months later Monterey had a creperie; serving a variety of sweet and savory crepes.

    A few years later the owners decided they needed a second place that honored locals. The downtown Monterey location was a perfect spot. This time he included his brother-in-law Jason Coniglio. The Ibessaines have named three crepes for their three children and one in memory of “Pappa Johnny” John Coniglio, their beloved father and father in law. He would have been so proud to see the hard work of his son in law and how they have continued the tradition of working with family. If you pass by the Alvarado street location most mornings you will see Mohamed spinning fresh crepes and now will also understand why there are four flags hanging on the wall: American, Algerian, Sicilian, and Italian. You can also sit at the counter and have “Mo” make you one of his free style crepes that are not on the menu. The Ibessaines travel most summers to Europe and Algiers so their kids can experience the magic of traveling and of course to always find new inspiration for their eclectic menu. Visit them for lunch or late night snack. They have something for everyone

    The Wine:

    2011 Dolcetto, Pasos Vineyard, Lodi.

    Dolcetto is widely grown in the Piedmont region of Italy. It is also home of Nebbioloand Barbera varietals. Dolcetto means “little sweet one” but almost all are dry usually with lower acidity, moderate to high tanins, and very fruit forward. The skin color is dark purple and has high levels of anthocyanins which affects the tannins in the wine and doesn’t require a lot of skin contact to achieve the dark color. Winemakers typically remove the skins early so the wine isn’t so tannic. The 2011 Dolcetto is very fruity with dark cherries, strawberries, hints of chocolate and soft tannins. Winemaker Antonio Pasos did a great job balancing the structure and flow of the wine. It’s drinking very nicely now. I wouldn’t hold onto this wine for more than three years. It’s meant to be shared now. This paired amazingly well with the chocolate and strawberry crepes.

    The Crepe: serves four


    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 8-10 strawberries thinly sliced
    • 3-4 oz dark chocolate (or 4 Tbsp. Nutella)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
    • ¼ tsp. vanilla
    • Whipped cream and chocolate sauce


    • In a large mixing bowl, mix together egg, water, milk, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the flour whisk together stirring to combine: beat until smooth.
    • Lightly oil griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Scoop the batter onto the pan, using about 1/2 cup for each crepe.
    • Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
    • Cook the crepe for about 2-3 minutes, or until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side for another 2 minutes.
    • Melt chocolate while the crepe is cooking.
    • Lay crepe on plate and add strawberries and chocolate (or Nutella).
    • Fold or roll the crepe then add chocolate sauce and whipped cream to taste.

    This is not the actual recipe they use at Monterey Crepe Company. The crepe recipe was enhanced by me. They want to preserve their secret recipe. I don’t blame them, I would too.

    richard pix for 5-24

    Christopher Groves: Poached Halibut while waiting for the Beach House to open

    by Richard Oh

    The Chef:

    Chef Christopher Groves grew up in Pacific Grove and his pursuit for culinary excellence has taken him to other parts of the country. I’m glad he is back to take on a new role at the Beach House at Lovers Point. Chef Chris has spent the past twenty years working his way up through the ranks of dining rooms and kitchens. Lucky for us, he’s been able to turn this love of food into a career in cooking.

    Chef Chris began his culinary career as a busboy at the Sardine Factory in Monterey, California while still attending high school in Pacific Grove. He fell in love with the energy of the restaurant and quickly developed a passion for the industry. His grandfather used to do blind taste tests with him every day, five flavors to develop his palate. This started at the young age of four and he still remembers scrambling eggs at age five. He worked the first 10 years of his career in the front of the house. He has worked at Pebble Beach Company before moving to San Diego then working in La Jolla. One day, Chris thought “I’d like to make the move into the kitchen.” So he enrolled at Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Scottsdale Arizona. There he graduated with an A.O.S. in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts. While in school he got involved with the American Culinary Federation and became a Jr. member. The Chef tried out for the ACF Jr. Culinary team and easily became a team member. He competed in Jr. events and won the school Titanium Chef competition, at this point he knew he had made the right career decision.

    After completing school Chef Chris worked in San Francisco and Las Vegas before returning to his hometown of Pacific Grove. Once again he found himself working at The Sardine Factory, this time in the kitchen under Certified Master Chef Robert Mancuso.

    In 2007 while with Marriott he was chosen to be a part of the ACF National Convention Culinary Team and went to Philadelphia as a Sous Chef to be a part of the 14-man team. After returning he moved on to be the Senior Sous Chef at Bouchee Bistro in Carmel, CA. After two years at Bouchee he teamed up with Da Giovanni Inc. and took his first Executive Chef position opening up Bistro Beaujolais also in Carmel. From there he ran his own company, Wild Mushrooms Monterey as Executive Chef/owner. And now I am proud to announce that he has joined forces with Kevin Phillips and Jim Gilbert as Executive Chef for the Beach House at Lovers Point, Pacific Grove, CA. Truly a dream come true and a career path that has run full circle returning him to his beloved hometown of Pacific Grove.

    The newly built from the ground up Beach House will be opening soon. It will have a brand new state of the art kitchen and amazing water views. The dining experience will be breathtaking and I cannot wait for the opening. They will offer a casual California menu with a hometown friendly service. Please visit www.beachhousepg.com for more information and opening date.

    The Wine:

    2010 Otter Cove Chardonnay. This is a single vineyard from Paraiso, Santa Lucia Highlands. It’s made from nice old vines that add depth and character. It went through partial malolactic fermentation so you’ll get some butter up front, tropical fruits, with a hint of vanilla on the finish. It spent part of the time in stainless steel and neutral oak. It has a nice flow from start to finish. It is bright with acid and refreshing with a nice zest. The fish is meaty so the body of the Chardonnay holds up great with the halibut. The acid of the wine cuts through the butter sauce and adds a nice zing of freshness to the whole dish. Please share responsibly…enjoy the wine.

    Poached Alaskan Halibut with butter braised asparagus, morel mushrooms and ramps


    • 4- 6 oz. pcs. Alaskan halibut
    • ½ pound fresh morel mushrooms
    • 1 bunch asparagus, peeled
    • 1 bunch ramps, washed and dried
    • ½ pound unsalted butter
    • 1 bottle Otter Cove Chardonnay
    • 1 ea. shallot, diced
    • 2 sprig fresh thyme
    • 1 ea. lemon, zested and juiced to taste
    • salt and white pepper
    • 1 liter extra virgin olive oil

    Procedure for the fish

    • Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a Pyrex baking dish, using a thermometer bring the oil to 145 degrees Fahrenheit over med. heat.
    • Season fish with salt and white pepper.
    • Place fish in oil for 30 minutes maintaining temperature of 145 degrees.
    • Remove from oil and hold warm for plating the dish.

    For the sauce

    • While the fish is cooking sauté diced shallot and thyme in 1 ounce of the butter over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
    • Deglaze the pan with 1 ½ cups of the chardonnay and reduce by two thirds over med-high heat.
    • Once the wine is reduced slowly whisk in ¼ pound of the unsalted butter.
    • Strain out the shallot and the thyme and season the sauce with kosher salt, white pepper and a little lemon juice. (You can add more or less lemon depending on how you like it).
    • Hold warm until you’re ready to plate.
    • For butter braising the veg.
    • This can also be done while the fish is cooking.
    • Bring 2 cups chardonnay up to a boil over high heat, then reduce to med-low heat.
    • Whisk in the rest of your butter and bring heat up to med.
    • Add peeled asparagus, mushrooms  and ramps and cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes
    • Season with salt and white pepper
    • Remove all veg from butter and wine mixture and arrange on plates
    • Place fish over the veg and then sauce the plate
    • Sprinkle lemon zest over the fish and veg. then serve. Enjoy!!!

    The Alaskan Halibut is lean and has a firm and dense texture. They average around 28 pounds but can grow over
    700 pounds. They are dark on one side and white on the other, this is known as countershading. This allows the fish to
    disguise itself from above and below. It can be served grilled, broiled, fried, and poached. I’ve had it in many different styles of cooking and enjoyed them all. I hope you will too.

    richard halibut

    Chef Chris’ Duck with Wild Rice Risotto…at Christopher’s

    The Chef:

    Christopher Caul is a well “seasoned” chef. He has been creating tasty treats for over 30 years. I was amazed to learn that Chris became a chef at an early age of 18. He was a sous chef at a restaurant in Hudson Valley until he moved out west. You can find him at Christopher’s on Lincoln located in Carmel, where Chef Chris will create some amazing cuisine that will delight your senses. His menu integrates fresh local produce and herbs and showcases the finest, seasonal ingredients the Central Coast has to offer. The menu consists of steaks, fish, pasta, chicken, and of course duck. The dress is casual and the décor is very charming. The fireplace, the wine rack, and the bar add character to the restaurant. Whether it’s a romantic dinner or a fun night out with friends, I would recommend Christopher’s for any occasion. Go visit Chef Chris and his team as they celebrate their tenth year of serving deliciousness in Carmel. They also offer a nice selection of local wines. www.christopherrestaurantcarmel.com

    For reservations please call 831-626-8000

    The Wine:

    2011 Manzoni Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. I get Pinot spice, nice acid base, cherries, red berries, with a mixture of velvety silky finish. This will pair nicely with lamb, duck, burgers, and dark chocolate. It is drinkable now but I would prefer to age this for another year. It was aged in French oak and all estate grown. It does have enough tannin and complexity that you can lay this down for a few years. Enjoy the wine with the duck. You can pick up a bottle at Manzoni Tasting Room in Carmel or come by Constance Wine Room. They also serve the Pinot Noir at Christopher’s.

    Duck breast with wild rice risotto

    Duck breast:

    • 2 duck breasts
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Season duck breast with salt and pepper to taste. Sear skin side down on medium heat and render out the fat until golden brown. Finish the duck in a 400-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. I like the duck medium rare. As with any piece of protein, it is so important to let it rest before slicing. With a sharp knife slice duck breast into thin pieces.

    Wild rice risotto:

    • 1 cup blanched wild rice
    • 1 cup Arborio rice
    • 1 cup chicken stock
    • 3 Tbsp butter
    • ¼ cup parmesan cheese

    Reconstitute both equal parts wild and Arborio rice in chicken stock. Thicken with butter and parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.


    • 2 cups raspberry brandy
    • 1 cup veal stock
    • 1 pint fresh raspberries
    • 1 Tbsp butter
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Reduce two cups brandy by half then add veal stock and raspberries. Stir occasionally… Reduce that by half again. Stir in butter and salt and pepper.

    richard duck color

    Wagyu at Lallapalooza

    by Richard Oh

    Today I will be featuring the new menu items from Lallapalooza Restaurant located on Alvarado Street, Monterey. In addition to changes in the food, the owner, Pat Ottone, strives to bring new experiences to your dining pleasure. He likes to enhance the restaurant visually as well as keeping the menu enticing. He’s brought out happy hour specials, unique cocktails, décor enhancements, and features some great local wines.

    Pat started a restaurant in 1985 called Velvet Creamery in the Del Monte Shopping Center. He had no prior restaurant experience. Pat just dove in head first… I admire that about him and he’s been very successful.

    A few years later he turned it into Elli’s named after Ellis Island. He wanted to make his restaurant the “melting pot” of food. Pat has accomplished this very well. One look at his menu and you will see what I’m talking about; it is very extensive. He has three amazing restaurants now and I wish him continued success.

    His other two are called Lalla Grill in the Del Monte Center and Elli’s located on Main Street in Salinas. I like the menu selection in all three places. It offers a diverse menu variety sure to please everyone in your group.

    I chose Lallapalooza because they offer the American version of Kobe beef, Wagyu. It is a crossbreed with Angus cattle with the Japanese Tajima. The result is a much higher grade of meat, from the well marbled texture to the fatty contentto its unique flavours and tenderness. The Wagyu has a lower melting point of its fat than regular beef. It is 100 percent natural and free of any hormones and antibodies. These cattle are raised in eastern Idaho on family ranches with a longstanding tradition of animal welfare and environmental sustainability. And now, thanks to Pat and Chef Luis Osorio, you can enjoy this delicacy at Lallapalooza. They offer it in a burger form as well as several different steak cuts. The chef will cook them to perfection on their oak-chip grills.

    I like the diverse menu options to building your own burger. My favorite is the apple wood smoked bacon and duck fat fries. I’m sure they have something that will please your palette.

    The Steak

    I had the pleasure of enjoying an 8 oz. Baseball Cut Sirloin and Chef Luis grilled it to excellence. It had just the right amount char on the outside with the meatiness yet tender and flavors were in full effect on the inside. There was no need for steak sauce. It had so much savoriness and natural juices that one should relish each bite. This cut is from the center of top sirloin, which offers richness and the meaty texture.

    The Wine

    2007 Oh Pinot Noir, Balo Vineyards, Anderson Valley. This is a new release. It is a very bold Pinot Noir. You’ll get dark intense cherries, blackberries, dark chocolate, with a solid tannin structure on the finish. This has the depth and complexity that will age nicely for many years to come. This is the only wine I produce outside of Monterey. All of the other wines are from the Santa Lucia Highlands region. Try this combination next time you dine at Lallas. Your mouth will thank you for it.

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    Life’s short…eat dessert first

    by Richard Oh

    Some sweets for your sweetheart… I teamed up with two chefs to bring you three treats for Valentine’s Day and beyond. These delightful pleasures should be enjoyed not just on Valentine’s Day but anytime you want something sweet and special. First of all, I want to introduce chef Guillaurme D’Angio. Guillaurme is a sous chef at Cantinetta Luca located in Carmel. He attended a culinary school in France. The second chef is Briana Sammut of La Crème located in Pacific Grove. I featured couple of her recipes previously.

    La Crème offers a full catering service for weddings and corporate events. Their location in Pacific Grove is beautiful and offers many different options for dining. They feature some great local wines and amazing coffee in the café. Tamie Aceves, owner/manager, is a Certified Wedding Planner with many years of experience managing small and large scaled events. Tamie has helped produce weddings that have appeared in several well-known magazines. She definitely has the love and passion for what she does. Please stop by her restaurant to experience the creativity of their kitchen and the enthusiasm that drives Tamie and her staff. Chef Jon Mosher will delight your senses with his wonderful culinary skills. We will be having a wine paired dinner coming in March, date to be announced. I will also be pouring at La Crème from time to time; so please come by for a taste or two.

    First Treat:
    by Chef Briana Sammut

    Chocolate Cherry Croissant Bread Pudding
    makes 2- 6oz Ramekins

    Preheat oven to 325. Butter two 6 oz ramekins and set aside

    Cherry reduction:

    • 2 Tbsp dry cherries
    • ¼ C red wine (Otter Cove Pinot Noir)
    • 1 tsp light corn syrup

    In a small saucepan, simmer the dried cherries in the wine and corn syrup for 10 minutes allowing a dark red syrup to develop. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.


    • 5 Tbsp whole milk
    • 5 Tbsp heavy cream
    • 1 ea egg
    • 1 ea egg yolk
    • 1 Tbsp superfine sugar
    • 1 Tbsp melted butter
    • 1 tsp Grand Marnier
    • 1 tsp orange zest
    • 1 large croissant, cut into ½ inch cubes
    • 2 Tbsp semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 Tbsp dried tart cherries, chopped

    Whisk together all ingredients except croissant, chocolate and cherries and soak croissant cubes in it for 20 minutes. Fold in chocolate chips and chopped dried cherries. Spoon mixture into ramekins filling them to the top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until they rise and turn golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and remove from ramekins.

    Spoon the cherry reduction on a plateand place the puddings on the plate. Pour the rest of the sauce and the cherries over the bread pudding. If desired, sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

    The Wine:
    2010 Otter Cove Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey

    richard pudding

    Second Treat:
    by Chef Guillaurme

    Poached Pears with Nougat Cream and Oatmeal Croustillant
    makes 2


    • 1 C old-fashioned oats
    • ½ C + 2 Tbsp AP Flour
    • 2.25 oz butter, softened
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
    • Splash of whiskey

    Preheat oven to 275. Whisk together oats, flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add dry ingredients and bind together with a splash of whiskey. Mold dough into a rectangle shape and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Roll to ½ inch with rolling pin and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 40 minutes. Remove and cut to desired shape while still warm. Allow to cool.

    Poached Pears:

    • 1 C red wine (Oh Pinot Noir)
    • 2/3 C water
    • 6 Tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1 ea cinnamon stick
    • 1 ea star anise
    • 3 ea whole cloves
    • ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
    • 2 ea pears — peeled, halved, and cores removed

    Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Add pears and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and trim pears to a square or desired shape. Hold pears in poaching liquid and let cool. Using a small saucepan, reduce about ¼ c of the poaching liquid to a syrup.

    Nougat Cream:

    • ½ C whipping cream
    • ¼ C butter, softened
    • 2 Tbsp chopped dried fruit such as
    • apricots, raisins, currants
    • 2 Tbsp chopped toasted nuts such as
    • hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans

    Whip cream in a stand mixer to very soft peaks and add softened butter. When semi-firm, fold in dried fruits and chopped nuts. Chill.

    Remove the pears from the liquid and dry before plating. Spoon pear syrup onto plate and set the pears on top. Garnish with shaped croustillant and spoon nougat cream on top of or near. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

    The Wine:

    2008 Oh Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey. This is a new release. It’s a single vineyard from Tondre Vineyard. You’ll get dark cherries, hints of raspberry, chocolate caramel, with a long silky finish.

    richard pears

    A little more about Chef Guillaurme D’Angio… He has been with Cantinetta Luca for a few months now but he began cooking at a young age of 15. Guillaurme was born in the French town of Marseille and he attended Poitiers Culinary Academy. After seven years, the chef received his master’s degree while working at famed French restaurant Le Bacchus. Chef Guillaurme also worked as the pastry chef for five years at renowned French hotel Château de Marçay. The chef trained under Alain Ducasse, one of the world’s most famous and accredited chefs to date who is widely known for his earning of over twenty Michelin stars. You can visit and enjoy Chef Guillaurme’s incredibly talented and delicious creations in Carmel-by-the-Sea at Cantinetta Luca.

    Third Treat:
    by Richard Oh


    • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
    • 1 ½ cup flour
    • ½ cup butter soften
    • 1 egg
    • ¼ cup dark cocoa powder
    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
    • ¼ cup fine granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup Otter Cove Syrah
    • ½ cup chocolate chips melted
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • ½ tsp baking powder

    Pre-heat oven at 350. Spray non-stick onto a 13×9 baking pan.

    Add all dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until integrated. Add egg, condensed milk, wine, vanilla, and butter. Whisk until mixed well. Pour into tray and bake for 15 to 18 minutes on the middle rack. Let sit to cool and cut into a heart shape. Add raspberry sauce and whipped cream to taste.

    The Wine:

    2010 Otter Cove Syrah, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey

    richard brownies

    Meet Chef Briana: Crema’s pastry chef

    The Chef:

    Chef Briana Sammut grew up locally in the Salinas Valley. At age 21, she attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Chef Briana was fortunate to gain externships at several restaurants including Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge in Greenwich CT and Jose Garce’s Tinto in Philadelphia. Currently, she is expanding her career as the pastry chef at Crema located in Pacific Grove on Lighthouse Ave. She definitely enjoys the culinary experience and it shows in all that she creates. I had the pleasure of having her pair a couple of dishes with my wine. Briana possesses the enthusiasm, creativity and drive to be successful. I for one am glad to have her on the Peninsula as she gains more experience in the culinary field. Please visit Crema and see for yourself.

    The Pairings:

    The first pairing is seared scallops with the 2010 Otter Cove Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands. The Chardonnay went through partial malolactic fermentation and started in stainless steel then moved over to neutral oak. It has a fruity nose, butter up front, tropical fruits, then finishes with a hint of vanilla and sufficient acid. This paired very nicely with the scallops. The rich texture and flavor of the scallop should be matched with a wine that is crisp and refreshing with bright acid base to cleanse the palate in preparation for another bite. The butter profile of the Chardonnay harmonized with the richness of the scallop and the olive oil.

    Seared Scallop with Red Pepper Puree and Arugula/Oregano Olive Oil

    Roasted Pepper Puree:

    • 2 red bell peppers
    • ¼ tsp paprika
    • ½ tsp salt
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

    Toss Peppers in olive oil and char over open flame until no longer red or blacken in broiler. Cover in bowl for 20 minutes with plastic wrap and allow to steam. Peel. Puree all ingredients while still warm and incorporate butter in small pieces

    Arugula/Oregano Oil:

    • 1 c arugula
    • 10 sprigs oregano
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 c olive oil

    Puree all ingredients except oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Slowly incorporate olive oil in slow stream. Set aside.


    • 10 to 12 scallops
    • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
    • Juice of 4 lemons

    Remove foot of scallop and pat dry with towel. Heat olive oil in large skillet until smoking. Season both sides of scallop with salt and pepper then sear in the olive oil until cooked to desired temperature. Add lemon juice to deglaze pan and set pan of scallops aside.


    Swipe 1 Tbsp. red pepper puree across plate. Center scallops in puree. Spoon 1 tbsp. arugula oil across tops of scallops Top with arugula leaves for garnish if desired.

    richard briana2

    The second pairing is a Greek dish called Pastitsio. It is a little more complicated but well worth it. We paired it with the 2010 Otter Cove Syrah, SLH. It was aged in French oak for 22 months. You’ll get white pepper notes up front, smoky undertones, soft tannins, with a hint of plum on the finish. The pastitsio is a blend of ground beef, sausage, and lamb. However, there are other variations from different countries. Chef Briana’s version has a bottom layer consisting of tubular pasta, with egg as a binder and a middle layer of meat and tomato spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and smoked paprika. And a top layer of a flour-based Béchamel, which is a combination of flour, milk, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and paprika. The three kinds of meat blended nicely together and was very pleasing to the palette. The Syrah complimented the Pastitsio favorably. The spices matched appropriately with the wine.

    serves 8-10

    Meat (Lamb):

    • ½ lb ground beef
    • ½ lb ground sausage
    • 1 lb ground lamb
    • 1 c chopped tomatoes (canned)
    • 1 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp nutmeg
    • ½ tsp ground clove
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • ½ c toasted pine nuts
    • ¼ c oregano (hopped)
    • 1 onion (chopped)
    • 2 tbsp olive oil

    Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add chopped onion and sauté to dark golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Add and sear beef, sausage, and lamb. Separately, combine spices, herbs, and tomatoes. Add into cooked meat mixture and simmer 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper


    • ½ c whole milk
    • 8 tbsp butter
    • 1 c flour
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • ½ tsp nutmeg
    • 1 tsp paprika

    Melt butter and whisk in flour over heat (roux). Gradually, whisk in cold milk and return to heat for 20 minutes stirring constantly. Add seasonings and salt and pepper to taste.


    • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1 large yellow onion (julienne)
    • 4 sprigs thyme (chopped)
    • 1 # tube shaped pasta (penne, rigatoni, etc.)
    • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)

    Melt butter and add julienne onion. Sauté over medium heat until deep caramel color (9-10 minutes). Add thyme and remove from heat. Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s directions in salted water and drain. Combine with onions and season with salt and pepper. Fold in eggs and set aside.

    Finish Pastitsio:

    Lightly grease the sides of a 13×9 inch rectangular baking pan. Spread the pasta/onion mix on the bottom. Spoon ¼ of the béchamel over the top. Next, layer the lamb mix over the pasta with béchamel. Last, spread the béchamel over the top, completing the pastitsio. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 1 ½ -2 hours or until browned on top. Béchamel will set on top once cooled.

    richard briana

    Chef Marc Jones: Pairing Monterey Bistro with Love

    by Richard Oh

    I enjoy food and wine pairings immensely. I have had the great pleasure of working with some of the best chefs of Monterey County to Los Angeles, serving from four course small plates to six course four-hour dinners. I’m fortunate enough to be able to taste the food and know which wine to pair it with. It truly is amazing when you find the right combination — food and wine alone are great but the correct pairing is magnificent.

    I love showing and sharing people this aspect of my life. So today I like to share three recipes from Chef Marc Jones. We came up with a three course pairing that you can do at home.

    We’ll start off with a fruit salad with mixed greens. Marc tries to use local produce and other local ingredients whenever possible. Chef Marc recently opened Bistro Monterey located within the Hotel Abrego. The hotel went through a complete transformation from the ground up. It’s a new property with a historic feel. The restaurant seats about 50 and is open daily for breakfast and dinner.

    We paired the salad with the Otter Cove Chardonnay. It’s a very nice way to start your dining experience.

    Fruit salad with an apple cinnamon vinaigrette

    • 1 bag of Salinas mixed green
    • 1 tablespoon of apple vinegar
    • ¼ cup of olive oil
    • 10ea cherry tomatoes sliced
    • ½ teaspoon of minced garlic
    • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
    • Salt n pepper
    • ½ Granny Smith apple sliced or cubed
    • 3 ea sliced strawberries or other fruit (handful)
    • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan

    Slice apple and keep in a can of 7up or Sprite and put to the side. The soda will preserve the color of the apple until serving. In large mixing bowl whisk apple vinegar, oil, garlic, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss dressing with greens, add fruits. Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!


    The second course is a baked salmon paired with Otter Cove Pinot Noir. It’s baked in parchment paper, which seals in the juiciness and flavors of the salmon. It’s a great way to keep the salmon moist so it doesn’t dry out.

    Salmon en papillote with basil oil

    • 1 salmon filet
    • 2 cups of fresh veggies (small veggies like
    • sliced carrots, asparagus, cherry tomatoes,
    • sliced Brussels sprouts)
    • ½ cup of fresh basil
    • 1 small cube of butter
    • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil
    • Salt n pepper to taste
    • 1 piece of parchment paper ½ sheet pan size

    Preheat oven to 350°.

    Place parchment lengthwise on a cutting board.

    Place veggies equivalent to size of salmon filet on the parchment paper about 1/3 up on the parchment paper. This will act as a bed for the salmon. Place the filet on the veggies. For the basil oil puree the basil and oil in a mixer or use an emulsion blender. The longer the oil sits the better it gets. You can make the oil the day before. Place the cube of butter on the filet and drizzle the basil oil over the top. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

    Fold the parchment paper once from the bottom over the salmon and veggies so the top corners of the paper meet. Next, fold the paper from the left or right at an angle so the first fold goes along the meat and veggies at a right angle. Keep folding about a half-inch all the way around and fold the parchment paper under at the other end. The final product should look like a calzone. Make sure you have a tight fold.

    Place the papillote on a sheet pan and bake for 8-12 minutes. When the bag looks like a blowfish it is ready. Place on a plate, carefully slice open lengthwise and enjoy!


    The third course is the pumpkin soufflé paired with Maestral Wein der Eisbox, Riesling, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County. It’s basically ice wine — first of its kind from the Santa Lucia Highlands. It is a classic-styled wine made from Alsatian and German Riesling from the Santa Lucia Highlands. It is a single vineyard from Tondre Grapefields. It has riped peaches and honey on the nose. You’ll get peaches, apricots, honeysuckle, bright acid with a nice long syrupy finish. The residual sugar is 21.3 percent so it’s a very sweet wine. It is considered ice wine when the grapes are picked frozen from the vines. Since it doesn’t get that cold in Santa Lucia Highlands, Dan Tudor, Winemaker, freezes them post harvest. They were picked when the grapes reached 27.6 percent sugar. Typically only healthy enough grapes survive later in the year to freeze on the vine. This is what gives ice wine that refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity characteristic. The sugars don’t freeze but the water content in the grapes do. This allows for more concentrated grape must to be pressed off which results in smaller more intense very sweet wine. Ice wines: It’s a great pairing with heavier desserts.

    Pumpkin Soufflé

    • 3 egg whites
    • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
    • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
    • ½ cup of brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
    • 2 egg yolk
    • 1 teaspoon cream of Tatar
    • Half cup of cream
    • 1/3 teaspoon of pumpkin spice

    Preheat oven to 400°.

    Butter or oil four oven safe cups. Coffee cups work fine or equivalent size baking cups, set aside. Use dry mixing bowl and whisk egg whites, pumpkin spice and tartar until eggs are stiff and peak. In another bowl mix cinnamon, sugar, pumpkin puree, nutmeg, cream and egg yolks. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into thepumpkin mix and place equally into bowls. Last, add the remainder of the egg whites to the top of the cups.

    Place on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes. Do not open the oven to check! Check at exactly 30 minutes and if they have risen and are lightly browned on the top remove and eat right away.

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    A little more about Bistro Monterey: Chef Marc’s menu will change seasonally and he feels this should be an industry standard and not a trend. He uses what is available in the produce and seafood world currently. He will not ask for ingredients from his suppliers to build a menu but ask what is in abundance from the local land and sea to determine what his menu will be that day, week or month. It will always be three to five appetizers, entrees and desserts to choose from at any given time due to the size of his kitchen. The menu will reflect a variety of feelings such as fun, seriousness, nostalgia, sarcasm, comfort and responsibility.

    Marc gets his inspiration from talking to the guests and seeing what they enjoy, flavors we remembered as a child and combinations that seem crazy but work. It’s a labor of love for sure. The staff is very caring and Marc works hard to make sure they have time for their families as well. For example, on Thanksgiving all of his servers and kitchen team were scheduled so they could have their Thanksgiving dinner before or after their shift with their family. In addition, they did a special dinner for employees and their families in their private dining room that day. He definitely wants you to be part of their family and therefore the dining experience should feel like you are sitting at the Chef’s table at any table in the dining room.

    Marc and his staff look forward to meeting you soon. Beer and wine are available now, however, a full bar is coming shortly. They are open seven days a week for breakfast and dinner. Seasonal poolside menu, offsite catering, cooking classes, and a private dining room are also available. Bistro Monterey is located in the Hotel Abrego, 755 Abrego St. Monterey, CA 93940. Call 831-372-7551 for reservations.

    Pumpkin reduction: It’s the season and Richard is the chef this week

    by Richard Oh

    Pork Chops with a Syrah pumpkin reduction sauce/marinade

    • ¼ cup soy sauce
    • ¼ cup water
    • ¼ cup vegetable stock
    • 1 cup Otter Cove Syrah
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • 3 tablespoon pumpkin puree
    • ½ teaspoon olive oil
    • 6 table spoons brown sugar
    • 2 table spoons dried rosemary, crushed
    • 4 pork chops

    Whisk together the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, Syrah, garlic, olive oil, and rosemary in a bowl. Pour 1/3 of the marinade into a re-sealable plastic bag. Add the pork chops, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Set the remaining marinade aside, this will be used for the sauce.

    Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grill. Remove the pork chops from the marinade, and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade from the bag.

    Place pork chops on the grill and cook until the pork is no longer pink in the center, 4 to 7 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness.

    In a saucepan bring to boil the 2/3 of the marinade. Add pumpkin and vegetable stock stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmer for 3 minutes. Serve over pork chops.

    Pretty simple recipe but adds lots of flavors of the season. Add seasonal vegetable for more flavors. You can also add chopped roasted chestnuts to the sauce. I made some wild rice, carrots, and yellow squash to compliment the whole dish.

    The Wine:

    Otter Cove Syrah 2010. I just released this wine on Monday. It is a single vineyard from the Santa Lucia Highlands. It was aged in French oak barrels for 22 months. This is a lot smoother than my previous vintage. Drink now forthe smoothness. The darker fruits and tannins will be more prominent later as the wine ages in the bottle. You’ll get white pepper notes up front, earthy smoky undertones, with a hint of plum on the finish. It’s very well balanced from start to finish. The flavors of the sauce paired amazingly well with the Otter Cove Syrah.

    The Syrah varietal is a dark skinned grape and has a long history from the Rhone region of France. It was first introduced to California in the 1970’s. It is now grown in other regions of USA but mostly produced in California. The Syrah can be used as blending as well as a single varietal. It can range in different flavor profiles depending on the region to winemaking styles. I’ve seen Syrah blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Grenache, Mourvedre, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Franc… It does make a niceblend and “completes” the wine.

    Not a lot of places carry this wine since I just released it. You can, however, get it at Constance Wine Room/Otter Cove Wines tasting room in Carmel.

    The cook/chef:

    It’s me…I wanted to do something that integrated some seasonal ingredients. The pumpkin added a nice element to the sauce. The flavors of the season thicken the sauce and complemented the pork chop amazingly well. Taste if for yourself. Your mouth will thank you for it. I come up with some of the recipes myself, tweak others and I also use local chefs. It really depends on my mood.

    richard pork chop

    Chicken Cacciatore with an old family flavor

    by Richard Oh

    Lee Mangone has been interested in cooking from an early age. With the passion and love learned from her father, Lee prepares and delivers old generation family recipes with tradition, rooted in Calabria, Italy.

    I guess you can say cooking is in her DNA. From early memory, sauce simmered on the stovetop all day, fresh seasonings, secret ingredients creating the perfect blend of flavor. Food was the center of all things, family and friends coming together to share savory dishes, laughter, and conversation, old stories recollected, new stories born.

    These memories drive Lee’s passion to keep the tradition alive, bringing people together to share authentic Italian cuisine, while emphasizing a healthy balance and relationship with food, important in today’s modern world. Recently Lee visited family in Calabria and took cooking classes in Tuscany, adding to her repertoire. She has earned her nickname, “Sauce Boss!”

    She started “Il Mio Cognome,” Italian for “my last name” in April of 2012.

    Freshly prepared Italian specialty meals are composed weekly in a certified kitchen, using fresh, local products, as available, and organic, whenever possible, packaged for 2-8 people. The “Weekly Special” might be Chicken Parmesan, Eggplant Parmesan, Lasagna (vegetarian or meat), Manicotti, Baked Ziti (vegetarian or meat), or Marinara with Meatballs. Contact Lee to order and arrange for delivery or pick-up. Specials will be stocked in Grove Market in Pacific Grove, as well. Lee is available to cater events for less than 50 people. She is dedicated and driven to make people happy by satisfying their taste buds. You will be thrilled when you bite into her creations. I know I was.

    View her website at: ilmiocognome.com
    Facebook page: “Il Mio Cognome” (Seaside, CA) Weekly Specials are announced here, and followers can place their order. Look for the logo: Italy’s “boot” wrapped in pasta!
    Phone: 802-522-5627
    Email: lee [at] ilmiocognome.com

    Chicken Cacciatore

    • 1 large red onion sliced
    • 2-3 garlic cloves sliced
    • 1 whole chicken (cut up w/bone)
    • 1 good size handful of black olives, pitted
    • (I like Spanish ones)
    • White wine
    • 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock
    • 2-3 pinches oregano
    • Tomato sauce — recipe to follow
    • Flour (for chicken)
    • Olive oil

    Preheat oven 375 degrees

    1. Dredge chicken in flour. Heat large sauté pan/ skillet; add olive oil when pan is hot. Add chicken, cook on medium high to high flame until chicken to browned.
    2. In separate skillet heat 1-2 TBSP olive oil, sauté onions and garlic until onions soft and begin to brown.
    3. Combine browned chicken and onions and garlic
    4. Add about 1/2 cup of the wine and 2-3 large spoonfuls of tomato sauce
    5. Add olives

    Place all in a large clay or ceramic deep dish add chicken stock. Cover dish with parchment paper and tie it on with medium weight cooking string. Place in oven and bake 40-45 minutes.

    Remove from oven and serve. I suggest polenta or on a bed of sautéed kale. Pair with Otter Cove Pinot Noir.


    Tomato sauce

    • 1-2 28 oz. tins whole tomatoes
    • 1/2 handful fresh basil leaves (less or more
    • on your taste)
    • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (more if you like)
    • 2-3 Tbsp. good quality olive oil
    • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
    • Salt to taste

    Put tomatoes through a food mill or processor. Add the other ingredients and stir until combined.

    The pairing:

    I usually select a chef or the cook and talk to them about what they would like to feature, then I pick the wine. Sometimes I do the reverse. I choose the wine and have the chef create a dish that will complement the wine as well as use the wine for cooking. In this case, I had Lee decide on an entrée and as I tasted the food I made a decision to use the 2010 Otter Cove Pinot Noir. The Pinot spices matched up nicely with the sauce. The texture of the olives and the velvetiness of the wine complemented each other. The hints of cloves in the wine brought out the garlic and the softness of the sauce. It was very well rounded… The Pinot Noir is a single vineyard of Tondre Grape fields and is aged in French oak. Give it a try; your mouth will thank you for it.


    Cupcakes and wine? Of course!

    by Richard Oh

    The Winery:

    In 1921, Joseph Manzoni left his home in Switzerland to come to the United States. A few years later he found himself in the Salinas Valley along with many other Swiss descendents. Among the many Old World traditions brought over from the homeland was the making of wine and Grappa. He introduced this to his workers, friends, and his own family. This proud tradition grew into what is now the Manzoni Estate Vineyard founded by his son Louie Manzoni, and his grandsons, Mark and Michael Manzoni.

    For almost 100 years, the Manzoni family has lived and farmed in this beautiful little part of California’s Monterey County – today known to wine lovers as the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation. The SLH – one of the New World’s prestige addresses for growing cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Syrah.

    Their home estate, in the heart of the Highlands, is only six acres in area. Here, hands-on wine growing and traditional winemaking combine to create limited production wines of elegance and balance. The business, as it is today, began in 1990 when the family converted six acres of land to vine rootstock. In 1999, with the planting of imported clones, the Manzoni Family turned their family tradition into a full-time passion.

    The Manzoni Estate Vineyard takes great pride in presenting you with wine from the finest quality grapes. They believe that their stewardship of the land, their purposefully small yields, and their detailed attention to every aspect of production results in a more flavorful, better tasting selection to grace your table.

    Since 1999, they have worked to become a wine name of discretion. They continue to grow grapes in the Santa Lucia Highlands and work diligently to evolve their practices and to increase the quality of the wines. They also source grapes from other nearby Appellations to broaden their portfolio, port being one of them.

    The Wine:

    2005 Bella Vino, the grapes come from Paso Robles, the varietals are Perelli 101, Touriga Nacional, Souzao, Tinta Cao & Tinta Roriz. What a nice blend of grapes. It has a very dark inky color. I pick up the scent of the Souzao immediately. It has aged perfectly in the bottle and is drinking great now. I love the consistency as it flows nicely on the tongue from start to finish. I get raisins, plum, with hints of dark chocolate, with earthy undertones. Ports are typically paired with desserts since they are sweeter, heavier, and have a nice richness. When pairing a dessert you want to match the sweetness of the wine. You don’t want to have a dessert too much sweeter than the wine; balance is essential. The acid and sugar levels should be balanced in both the food and wine. If the balanced is tipped one way or the other, the sweet dessert will make the wine seem more tannic, less sweet it will seem more acidic. You can also match up the flavor profiles of the wine and the dessert. This port will also pair nicely with a cigar. I like to indulge once in a while. Sometimes I dip the tip of the cigar in the port. It makes the cigar have a silky effect. (Smoking is bad for your health.) My little government warning if you will.

    The Dark Chocolate Cake (Cupcake) with Chocolate Frosting and Applewood Smoked Bacon:

    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup dark cocoa
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup milk (heavier the better)
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 1/2 lb smoked applewood bacon

    Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

    Cut bacon into small pieces and cook till crisp. Drain fat and let cool. After cooled take half and cut into very small pieces. Leave remaining bacon on the side.

    Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; use a mixer on medium speed for two minutes.

    Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fold in smaller bacon pieces. Pour batter into prepared pans.

    Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

    Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings. Variations: One-Pan Cake: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost. BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost. CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

    “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting

    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
    • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternatelyadd powdered sugar and milk, and mix well. For spreading consistency add small amount of additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 2 cups frosting.

    Add extra bacon to the top and sides. If you decide to add some to the center I recommend you cut it into smaller pieces. A big chunk of bacon fat isn’t always delicious. I sometimes add cut up chocolate bars to the top. Like Salted Caramel Bars…. yummy

    The Baker, Foodie:

    Michelle Balaam believes that all life originated from Mother Ocean. So naturally, this life giving energy is a beacon, providing the ideal atmosphere of healing, recreation, food, livelihood, beauty and wonder. It is the dynamic qualities of the Monterey Peninsula that attracted Michelle towards the coast and the inspiration behind OCEAN BODY WORKS (OBW). With over 20 years experience in the holistic sciences, and a deep immersion in personal growth movement, OBW provides a multifaceted approach in assisting people heal their mind, body and soul. OBW offers an array of synergistic solutions tailored to fit your needs. Melt away stress with certified massage therapy and bodywork. Let OBW staff create an individualized program designed to mend body, elevate your mood, boost vitality, and enhance your being through detoxification specialists, personal fitness instruction and lifestyle coaching.

    The Cleanse Program:

    Michelle has designed a program for busy real people. Toxins and stress create obstacles for the normal functioning and self-healing capabilities of our bodies. Modern eating habits and lifestyles pollute our bodies and don’t provide the necessary nutrients for them to function at optimum levels. By removing those obstacles and providing what is lacking, our bodies can bounce back to health, energy is restored and we can begin to look and feel our best. This is also an opportunity to explore your true relationship with food and your deepest self if you choose.

    “Change Happens when you decide it does.”

    richard 9-14

    Sexual Chocolate: Why didn’t I think of that?

    by Richard Oh

    Two wine-loving guys who developed a “bro-mance” through a common drinkable interest conceive SLO Down Wines. Chip and Brandon met at Cal Poly five years ago and shortly after their chance encounter, and many compelling experiences in the wine and viticulture world, these two accidental geniuses developed a wine with a single goal; conquer the world by creating a wine for the newest generation of wine drinkers. They brought out a wine called Sexual Chocolate. Yes, Sexual Chocolate. Why didn’t I think of that?

    Two vintages and 762 cases later, the boys at SLO Down Wines found themselves on display in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, sweeping the beverage categories at SF International Chocolate Salon with four golds and a bronze, and a swelling list of accounts.

    Brandon grew up in Ventura and moved to San Luis Obispo to further his schooling at Cal Poly. He is not your average guy. Brandon is charismatic, fun, entertaining, articulate, intelligent, and sophisticated. On top of that, he makes wine — Sexual Chocolate wine!

    Bo completed the “Three Amigos.” The decision to bring Bo aboard was made after 13.2 seconds of consideration due to his dashing good looks and Bio-Chemical background. However, it couldn’t last forever… and so Chip and SLO Down Wines have parted ways. And so they went back to the dynamic duo.

    Bo has the looks to match his intelligence. He went to school in Louisville and studied Biochemistry and Math. He more looks like a surfer-dude than a scientist. I think he developed that look on his treks out to California. He now lives on the West Coast and makes wine for SLO Down Wines. Bo has made strides working with Brandon and is looking forward to their next vintage.

    Let’s not forget Ethan. He is an investor as well as handles the general business operations, oversight, and acts as an adviser. I guess you can say it’s back to the “Three Amigos.” Ethan grew up in Pacific Grove. He also owns a construction company called Hare Construction. They specialize in both commercial and residential construction.

    The wine:

    Sexual Chocolate is a blend of Syrah and Zinfandel. It’s an integration old vine Zinfandel from Napa’s Howell Mountain with warm climate Santa Barbara Syrah. The Zinfandel presents a rich, warm feel that could be confused with biting into a chocolate covered cherry, while the Syrah adds a smooth, deep and refined finish. It has nice hues of rubies and blackberries. I get muted spices and anise, plums, hints of bacon, with a lingering jamminess on the finish. It paired nicely with the rib and BBQ sauce that I made using the Sexual Chocolate. As the boys say: “Sexual Chocolate pairs well with late nights, friends, and a second bottle of Sexual Chocolate of course.” You better get some soon. They only have a few cases left of the 2010 vintage. You can pick some up at Constance The Wine Room on the corner of Ocean and Lincoln, Carmel.

    BBQ Sauce

    • 1 ¼ cup Sexual Chocolate Wine
    • 1 cup Ketchup
    • ½ cup dark brown sugar
    • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
    • black pepper and chili powder to taste

    Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Stir every couple minutes. Simmer at low heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally…

    Let it cool then brush onto the ribs. For best results, let it sit overnight in a jar. This allows all the ingredients to integrate better. It makes enough for a rack and a half.


    Dry rub the ribs with your favorite grill spices but don’t over do it. Preheat the grill on medium heat. Grill the ribs for 7 minutes covered. Turn the ribs over and let sit for 8 minutes. Turn the ribs over and brush on the BBQ sauce and let sit for 5 minutes then turn over and brush the other side for 5 minutes without the cover. Repeat the last step one more time. Add a salad and cornbread as I have done or any other sides you prefer. Enjoy the rest of bottle of Sexual Chocolate with your meal and don’t forget to share.

    richard 8-17

    Mero with Mustard Sauce: Chef Owen blends ‘old school’ with a new culinary approach

    by Richard Oh

    Mero with Dijon Mustard Sauce

    Dijon Mustard Sauce:

    • 1 Bulb Shallot Diced
    • 1/2 Cup White Wine (Otter Cove Riesling)
    • 2 Cups Vegetable Stock
    • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
    • 1/8 Cup Dijon Mustard
    • 1/8 Cup Grainy Mustard

    Saute Shallots in 1 table Spoon Canola Oil and 2 table spoon butter. Cook until translucent. Dust with flour to create a roux.

    Deglaze with white wine and add stock to create sauce. Add Cream and Mustard stirring all ingredients.

    Finish with small pats of Butter.

    Season with Salt and White Pepper to taste

    The Fish:

    Mero (Japanese Seabass) is highly regarded in Japan for its intense richness and versatile qualities. This fish has extremely high oil content making it impossible to dry out. Snow white and flaky, its amazing buttery sweet flavor presents taste buds with a lingering presence of scallop, crab and lobster. Delicious sautéed, baked or grilled over intense high heat for sweet, crispy caramelized edges and moist and tender on the inside. The Chef pan-seared the Mero then baked it on high heat for 5-7 minutes.

    The Chef:

    Chef Owen Appelt was born and raised in the Philippines. She came to the United States as a 15 year old. She was encouraged by her dad to follow a career in the hotel and restaurant industry. She found her love of the culinary arts while attending Diablo Valley College in Concord, CA. After graduation, Chef Owen started her career at the Concord Hilton Hotel under the guidance of Executive Chef Beat Giger. The mentoring he provided inspired her. So when a position was offered to follow him to the Lodge at Pebble Beach, it was an easy decision. Her journey with the Pebble Beach Company spanned almost 20 years culminating as a Sous Chef at the Beach and Tennis Club. Owen has had the privilege of working with many talented and inspiring chefs who exposed her to a wide array of cuisines. This has led Owen to creating her own style, a blending of “old school” tradition with a more modern culinary approach. The Restaurant at Mission Ranch considers itself very fortunate to have Executive Chef Owen Applet. She has brought her special touch to the menu enhancing it with innovative sauces, new and exciting entrees, and popular appetizers

    The Restaurant:

    The historic Mission Ranch Resort sits on 22 acres with spectacular views of Point Lobos, Carmel River Beach and the Pacific Ocean. It was one of the first dairies in California. The rich history of this ranch was preserved and restored by former Carmel Mayor, Clint Eastwood. A longtime Carmel resident, Clint Eastwood rescued this landmark resort from condo developers, and renovated the entire property to provide a unique resort experience. The Inn now consists of 31 hotel rooms located within ten buildings on the property. While dining at the restaurant, you can watch the sheep graze in the meadow while enjoyng the music from the piano bar. Located just nine blocks south of downtown Carmel and eight blocks from Carmel Beach, the views and tranquil location make the Ranch a special place for romantic getaways, weddings, corporate dinners or family vacations. Please visit the restaurant soon. The staff as well as the food are amazing. The food portions are generous. Steve, the charasmatic manager, will make sure your dining experience will be very memorable.

    The Wine:

    2010 Off-dry Riesling. This is a new release and is being served at the Mission Ranch. It is a single vineyard from the Santa Lucia Highlands. It’s very refreshing with peaches, apricots, hints of honey and bright acid. This Riesling will pair well with many different dishes since it has just the right amount of sweetness. I have paired this with appetizers to seafood to spicy foods to desserts. Making this a very versatile wine. It went amazingly well with Chef Owen’s creation. The richness, whisper of sweetness and caramelized fish complimented the wine. The subtle spice from the mustard was soothed by the sweetness of the Riesling. Most of the oil from the fish departed from the heat leaving a moist and tender inside enhancing the texture and structre of the wine. Try it for yourself and see how the perfect combination of food and wine can be a fabulous experience.

    Mero mustard cream sauce OC Riesling

    Chocolate shortcake and strawberries

    Caution: Rich! (yes, pun intended)

    by Richard Oh

    Chocolate Shortcake with Sweetened Strawberries

    Recipe Ingredients:


    • 4 oz. Bittersweet or semisweet baker’s chocolate, chopped
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I like Himalayan Sea Salt)
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    • large egg
    • 1/3 cup whole milk


    • 1 pound strawberries, hulled, sliced
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream

    Chocolate Sauce:

    Use your favorite prepared chocolate sauce.



    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine chocolate and cup sugar in food processor and process until chocolate is finely ground. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; process until combined. Add butter and process until mixture resembles fine meal. Mix egg withmilk in small bowl to blend; pour over flour mixture in processor and pulse just until combined. Spoon dough into six 3-inch mounds on prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Carefully transfer shortcakes to rack. Cool completely.

    DO-AHEAD TIP (optional) Shortcakes can be made one day ahead. Wrap individually in plastic and store at room temperature.


    Toss strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl. Let stand until juices form, stirring occasionally.

    Top shortcakes with strawberries, chocolate sauce, then whipped cream. Top with shortcake tops and serve.

    The Drink:

    I thought I would switch it up a little. I made an OhZone cocktail called OhBama. It has equal 1 oz. parts of OhZone, Bailey’s with caramel, and Buttershots, 3 oz. milk, and ¼ teaspoon of cocoa powder. Fill a shaker half way with ice then put in all the ingredients and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. Rim a martini glass with cocoa powder and carefully pour the mix in glass. It’s a nice and refreshing pairing with the shortcakes and strawberries. The richness of the chocolate goes nicely with the creaminess of the OhBama. All the drinks that we are coming out with have my last name integrated into the name of the cocktail. I’m not very political. The OhBama name just came about since it flowed nicely. It’s pretty endless when you have a name like Oh. The most popular drink has been the OhGasm so far. It’s refreshingly tropical… Give it a try.


    A few years back my friends and I wanted to come out with something new. Sometimes when our wines get a little too hot (higher alcohol then we would like) we extract some of it out of the wine. The alcohol that is extracted comes out at 124 proof. Now that is hot! What we did was send it through cold distillation and filter the alcohol and tone it down to 70 proof. That was the key. Now the OhZone can be mixed into pretty much any cocktail. From Bloody Mary to Cosmopolitan, to Margarita, to Mojito, to Long Island Ice Tea, etc… It will replace vodka, gin, rum, and tequila. You can also mix it with other spirits and it will add a nice dimension to your cocktail. It’s the “universal” spirit. I even have chefs cooking with it as well. Go to www.ohzonespirits.com for more recipes. Have fun with it.

    richard art

    The picture says it all: Richard Oh concocts not only a decadent chocolate shortcake with strawberries, but adds an OhZone cocktail called OhBama — the glass is rimmed with cocoa.

    On another note: I don’t usually enter my wines into competition because it’s so subjective. In addition, some judging is paid. My thing is whether you like it or not. You should be drinking a wine that you like not based on someone’s rating. With that said, I recently entered a wine competition with over 2,700 wines and it was judged by 87 winemakers, growers, vintners, and sommeliers. I thought with that many wines and judges I should be ok and it didn’t cost anything to enter. So I entered my new released 2010 Otter Cove Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. I won Silver! I guess nothing ventured nothing gained. I’m very happy the way the Pinot Noir turned out. It is a single vineyard designation of Tondre Grape Fields. It starts off with dark cherries, hints of strawberries, earthy undertones, with a nice velvety finish. Pick up a bottle of this award winning wine. Your mouth will thank you for it.

    richard prize

    Finally, congratulations are in order as Otter Cove took a silver medal at a recent wine competition. Otter Cove 2010 Pinot Noir won a silver medal against more than 2700 wines.

    Grilled Lamb Chops with Quinoa… and Oh Pinot Noir

    by Richard Oh

    The Chef:

    Today I am featuring Chef John Guinivere. I first met John at a chocolate and wine pairing at my tasting room over a year ago. Since then we have become friends and I’ve wanted to feature one of his recipes.

    A little more about Chef John: at 16, John worked in the kitchen at Cypress Country Club on the weekends. After high school, John applied to three culinary schools and was accepted to all of them. He chose California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. At the time, he was the youngest student ever accepted. He graduated from Culinary School in 1986, at the age of 20.

    Over the years, John has managed restaurants, owned a bistro, traveled the world as a Chef on prestigious privately owned yachts, catered events for thousands of people and consulted for several restaurants and food companies.

    By 1996, he had begun creating his own cooking show on the Internet. By 1998, he had learned digital video editing, encoding taping and streaming videos on the Internet. John’s first cooking video was aired on Cheflive.com in November 1998. You can still find some more of his recipes at www.cheflive.com. He has a no non-sense style of cooking and is very down to earth. I like that approach. His ingredients are simple but very tasty. I had the pleasure of dining on one of his creations. The lamb chops are delicious! I’m glad he is living on the Monterey Peninsula now.

    We have a Chef demo and wine pairing that we are doing together June 2, 2012. It’s at Ferguson’s Bath and Kitchen located at 1144 Fremont Blvd. Seaside. It starts at 11:00 A.M. and seating is limited. If you would like to join us or for more information, please email me. It will be an interactive four-course lunch.

    The wine:

    2006 Oh Pinot Noir, Balo Vineyards, Anderson Valley. You’ll get dark cherries, hints of blackberries and blue berries, with a cherry preserve essence, soft tannin structure, and a velvety silky finish. One can lay this down for another 10-15 years. You wouldn’t normally age a Pinot for that long but this has the depth and structure that is age worthy. It is, however, drinking nicely now. Anderson Valley is located in Mendocino. The soil along with the climate makes this region ideal for growing Pinot Noir grapes. This was aged in French oak for 12 months with 50 percent new oak barrels. It is 90 percent free-run juice with 10 percent press. It does go amazingly well with Chef John’s lamb chops. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

    Grilled Lamb Chops with Quinoa
    Serves two
    4-6 Lamb chops


    • 1 cup quinoa
    • ½ cup Oh Pinot Noir
    • 1-2 cups water
    • ½ Tbsp beef or chicken bullion
    • ½ bell pepper
    • ¼ lg onion
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    • ½ Tbsp honey
    • 2 oz. Pinot Noir
    • ½ Tbsp fresh rosemary
    • 1 clove garlic chopped


    • 8 Swiss chard leaves
    • 1 lg. Red tomato
    • 1 Clove garlic chopped
    • ¼ Tbsp butter
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Quinoa: Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium size pot. Add in quinoa, water, wine, and bullion. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Add in bell pepper and onion and stir. Let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until it has reduced stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Vegetables: While the quinoa is cooking prepare the vegetables. Chop the tomatoes and garlic then heat a medium-size pan add a little olive oil and butter. Stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes add salt and pepper to taste.

    Baste: Combine all ingredients and mix well.

    Lamb: Preheat the grill covered over medium heat. Grilled the lamb over medium heat fatty side first for 5 minutes then turn on side for 5 minutes then flip over and let sit for 5 minutes. Baste the lamb on each turn. Cook according to your preference. I like mine medium rare.

    Plate the quinoa, vegetables, and lamb and enjoy the rest of the bottle of Pinot Noir.

    lamb chops

    The mango didn’t fall far from the tree

    by Richard Oh


    When is a rose not a rose? When it’s Jemrose! And definitely not among thorns… The pairing today is with a Jemrose Syrah 2008 from Cardiac Hill Vineyard, Sonoma County. I chose this wine because of the texture, spices, earth notes, and hints of jammy qualities. I also like the vineyard name, Cardiac Hill. It’s name came about because of the steep hillside where the vines are planted, ranging from 500 to 900 feet in elevation. They grow four clones of Syrah and produce about two tons per acre. The soil is mainly made up of volcanic loam with excellent drainage. They have four different vineyards that make up Jemrose Wines each having a unique sun exposure, slope and elevation. Their case production is limited so get your bottle before they run out.

    Sonoma County is home to over 300 wineries and 13 AVAs. Each AVA has its own distinctive characteristic and varietal makeup. It’s a 30-minute drive North of San Francisco and has 50 miles of coastline. Like Monterey County, Sonoma vineyards are directly affected by the coast. The summer days are nice and warm, and cools off at night. The fog cools the vineyards down which allows for a longer hang-time. Enjoy the bottle of Jemrose Syrah with the pork chops. Always remember to share…

    On another note, my nine-year-old daughter wrote the following for a class writing project. I thought it was great to see how she used words to describe one of my dishes. I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

    richard art2

    Mango Chutney sauce…

    • 2 Medium size mangoes
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • ½ tsp turmeric powder
    • ½ cup sugar (you can add more if like it to be sweeter)
    • 1 medium size orange (we’ll use the juice from the orange)
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 TBSP oil
    • Salt to taste (I like pink Himalayan Sea Salt or Sea salt)
    • ½ cup raisins (add if you like a little more sweetness and texture)
    • 1 small red bell pepper (add if you like a little crunch and contrast)
    • Chili powder to taste

    Wash and peel the mangoes. Cut them into small pieces.

    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Put the cumin seeds and heat until they turn black.

    Add the mango pieces, turmeric powder, salt, chili powder, and bay leaves and fry for 2-3 minutes.

    Add sugar, water and orange juice, and mix well

    Cover the saucepan with a lid. Let it cook for about 30 minutes or until the mangoes are soft. You may need to add water if the mangoes start to dry.

    Cool the chutney and store in a clean jar. You can store it in a refrigerator for a few weeks.

    Pork Chops

    • 4 medium sized bone-in pork chops ¾” thick
    • 1 medium size mango
    • 2 sprigs of thyme
    • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • Black pepper to taste

    Clean pork chops and let sit to dry. Cut thyme into small pieces. Wash and slice mangoes into ½” wide pieces (slice from top to bottom). Be very careful, the slices will stick to the seed. Chop the garlic. Put EVOO, thyme, garlic and black pepper into a bowl and mix together. Rub the mixture onto the pork. Make sure you get both sides.

    Clean the grill and let it heat up for five minutes on medium setting (covered). Grill the pork chops and mango slices for seven minutes then turn over for five minutes (covered). Turn off the heat and let it sit for five more minutes.

    Plate the pork chops and mangoes. Add the chutney sauce (as much as your heart desires). Enjoy with a salad or wild rice and of course the Syrah.

    richard pork chop

    Butter Salmon: Doumo arigatou, Ocean Sushi!

    by Richard Oh

    For this article, I am happy to have a salmon dish from Ocean Sushi Deli paired with a new release: 2010 Otter Cove Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands.

    Ocean Sushi owners Chris and Toshimi had a vision when they first arrived to the Monterey Peninsula. And that was to spread the Japanese culture through food. That vision has grown to two locations. Chris graduated from the prestigious Tsuji Cooking School in Osaka, Japan while Toshimi studied Nutrition and grew up cooking for friends and family in Nara City. A quarter century ago they opened Ocean Sushi Deli on the corner of David and Forest Avenue in Pacific Grove to share with the community a healthy alternative to fast food. This take-out only sushi shack offers Japanese snacks, beverages, and pre-packaged sushi as well as made to order items. Luckily the community dove right in and soon they were catering to many local hotels, weddings and other events such as the Concours d’Elegance. Although they just stopped this special service, for 20 years they prepared sushi early each morning and delivered it to several of the local markets and institutions like Grove Market, Bruno’s, Nielsen Bros., Cornucopia, Carmel Valley Market, CHOMP, PG Middle and High School among several other fine local establishments to make sushi accessible for everyone.

    Their daughter, Shiho, returned to the Monterey area and started working at Ocean Sushi in 2008. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara and taught English in Kyoto, Japan the “sake capital of the world” for a couple years on the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program). She also worked selling wines in the Bay Area and for an IT company before moving back to Monterey. Shiho grew up in the food business so it’s no wonder that she is a natural at running a restaurant/catering company. Go and visit her and her family, your tummy will thank you for it.

    Today their Monterey store which opened in 2000 located downtown near the Monterey Post Office offers 100 sushi items and 100 authentic Kansai (Osaka vs Kantō – Tokyo) Style entrees/dishes in an unpretentious deli style atmosphere. Their sauces and dressings are made in house and hot tea, citrus water and Japanese barley tea is complimentary on a self serve basis. One can find Japanese beer and their favorite “Echigo” which is actually made from rice in Japan and therefore gluten free. They also offer many vegetarian, a few vegan options and a decent selection of chilled sake.

    Stop by for a hot bowl of ramen or soba on a cold night or their most popular Teriyaki Salmon over rice called donburi, in a bento or on a salad. Order a sushi platter for your next work lunch meeting instead of a tray of cold cut subs or stop in to buy some snacks for your friends and family. The Monterey location also offers a delivery service for Monterey, Pacific Grove, Seaside and Carmel after 4:30pm.

    Monterey Location:
    165 Webster Street, Monterey CA, 93940
    Casual Café Dining

    Pacific Grove Location:
    2701 David Ave., Pacific Grove, CA 93950
    Take-out Only

    The recipe is a salmon prepared in sake, butter, lemon, soy sauce that will tantalize your tastebuds. It’s very simple and doesn’t require a lot of time. It’s also healthy for you. I’ve paired this with the newly released Otter Cove Chardonnay.

    There are few ways to pair wine with food. One, pick flavor profiles from the wine with the food. This is a way of complimenting each other. Two, pick a sweeter wine with spicy dishes. This is a way of contrasting flavors. Three, pick higher acid wines with fatty foods, like heavy sauces. Four, body to body. Pick a light-bodied wine with lighter dishes and medium bodied wine with medium intense foods and spices.

    The Chardonnay grapes are widely grown all over the world. It is a close second to the Pinot Noir grapes grown in Monterey County.

    The Otter Cove Chardonnay went through partial malolactic fermentation and spent part of the time in neutral oak. Malolactic fermentation is a process where malic acid (harsh tart acid) turns into lactic acid (softer), which makes the wine easier to drink and gives it a fuller, rounder mouth feel. The Chardonnay is a new release and is a 2010 vintage from the Santa Lucia Highlands. You’ll get a full rounded mouth feel of butter, tropical fruits, with a hint of citrus on the finish. Itis a nicely balanced wine with acid, body, and depth. The neutral oak added layers and complexity.

    Why did I pair the Chardonnay with the salmon you ask? I wanted to pick up the acid from the lemon and the creamy feel of the butter to the wine. The charbroil went nicely with the essence of the oak. This is a case of complementing as well as contrasting. The acid from the wine will cut through the butter and the citrus compliments the lemon. In addition, the body to body matched nicely. Try it for yourself.

    Lemon Sake Butter Salmon
    serves 2

    • 2 5oz salmon filets
    • 3tbsp soy sauce
    • 6tbsp cooking sake
    • 1/2 tbsp butter
    • 1 lemon
    • flour
    • pinch of salt
    • cooking oil

    Pre-season salmon with a hint of salt and then place in bowl with 3tbsp of cooking sake. Wait 15 minutes then wipe excess moisture off with a paper towel.

    Dredge salmon in flour, warm up a fry pan to medium heat and drop a little oil.

    Pan fry both sides of each salmon filet until almost done and toss in butter, 3tbsp each of cooking sake, soy sauce and juice of one lemon wedge. Quickly flip the salmon over to make sure the sauce is coated on both sides and serve with thin slices of lemon on top.

    salmond & chard

    Some for the chicken, the rest for the chef

    by Richard Oh

    Rolled chicken with bacon, zucchini, yellow squash, and basil served with marinara sauce…

    • 2 large chicken breast
    • 8 strips of bacon
    • 1 bunch fresh basil
    • lemon pepper
    • parsley flakes


    • 6 vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
    • 2 cans tomato sauce (12-14 oz.)
    • 1 can tomato paste
    • 1 white onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 10 mushrooms, sliced
    • 2 sm. zucchini, sliced
    • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup Otter Cove Pinot Noir

    Dry Ingredients:

    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 1/2 Tbsp. basil
    • 1/2 Tbsp. oregano
    • 1/2 Tbsp. Rosemary
    • 1/4 tsp. sage
    • Salt to taste

    Sauce Procedure:

    Add all the ingredients together (except for the dry ingredients) into a large pot. Let simmer for about 2 hours on low heat. Stir every 10 to 15 min. Add the dry herbs and simmer for another hour

    While the sauce is cooking prepare the chicken:

    richard 3-2Thinly slice both breasts. Cook bacon ¾ of the way. Let them sit on paper towel to soak up the excess fat. Wash then cut the zucchini and squash into thin strips. The build: first place chicken then add basil, bacon, zucchini, and squash. Sprinkle lemon pepper and parsley flakes before rolling the chicken. Tightly roll and put on grill over medium heat. Cook them until golden brown.

    Preheat oven to 250º. Place the chicken on cooking tray and place in oven for 10 to 15 minutes. By baking it will finish the inside, since the inside isn’t fully cooked. It’s a pretty simple recipe with lots of flavor. You can serve a salad and add grilled zucchini and squash to complete the meal. Serves four people…

    Plate then add sauce. Enjoy the rest of the Pinot Noir with the meal.

    The Wine:

    The 2010 Otter Cove Pinot Noir is a new release. The grapes are from the Santa Lucia Highlands. It is a single vineyard of Tondre. They were aged in French oak for 12 months. Tasting notes: dark cherries, hints of strawberries, nice earthy undertones, with a velvety finish. There’s not a lot of Pinot spice so it makes pairing pretty easy. Monterey County has 40,000 acres of vineyards. The two mostly grown are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The climate and soil are ideal for growing in this region. The Pinot Noir grapes are mainly associated with the Burgundy region of France, but are grown all over the world. It is a difficult variety to cultivate and to transform into wine. However, it is the most sexiest wine. It’s voluptuous, well rounded with lots of flavor and elegance. The grapes are sensitive to wind, cold, too much heat, and soil types to pruning techniques. I like the lower yielding crops, which gives off more intensity and flavor. The Santa Lucia Highlands region is one of the most sought after AVA. The amazing soil, warm summer days and cool nights allows a longer hang-time. Thus, the grapes absorb more nutrients, which means more intense fruit. We live in a great area that allows us to compete in the world market. Give some of the local wines a try. Your taste buds will thank you for it.

    richard 3-2-2

    It’s a mouthful in more ways than one

    by Richard Oh

    This recipe comes from Tim Wood, Executive Chef at Carmel Valley Ranch. He began his culinary career in the Catskills region of New York’s Hudson Valley. It was here amongst the area’s countless small family farms that Wood learned the importance of local seasonal ingredients – where they come from, how they are grown, and how to be creative with them. This early awareness of quality ingredients planted an initial seed of interest in a culinary career.

    After Chef Wood graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, he moved to New York City to begin his Manhattan restaurant experience as an extern at the famed Rainbow Room. It was here that he forged a kinship with Chef Michael Lamonico of New York’s acclaimed Windows on the World restaurant, which in time led to an introduction to Tom Valenti under whom Chef Tim worked as a sous chef at the renowned Butterfield 81.

    During a three-month cross-country culinary adventure in the spring of 2000, Wood connected with Chef Cal Stamenov at the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley. Chefs Wood and Stamenov worked closely together, traveling to an array of national and international culinary events which included Germany, Holland, Spain and beyond. It was during this period that Wood initially became inspired by the wines of the Central Coast region of California, leading him to pursue sommelier certification

    “The best thing about working in the Central Coast area is the ability to be so closely connected to local products and the people behind them,” says Wood when speaking about his overall philosophy. “When you know where your food is from and understand the care that the purveyors grant it, it is easy to extend your hand in friendship and consider them part of your family.”

    Crispy Pancetta Carmel Valley Honey Warm Potato Salad

    • 2 cups Pancetta chopped into lardoons
    • 2 pounds marble potatoes from our garden
    • (any small creamer will do)
    • 3 oz. sherry vinegar
    • 6 oz. Carmel Valley olive oil from the
    • Herbermann olive orchard
    • 4 oz. Carmel Valley honey from our
    • property
    • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley picked and
    • chopped
    • 1 bunch scallions cleaned and chopped thin
    • 3 T. stone ground mustard

    Start by cooking the potatoes in a sauce pot with just enough water to cover them by an inch (too much water steals the flavor from your spuds).

    Be sure to season the water with Diamond Crystal kosher salt 1 tablespoon should do the trick.

    Brown off the chopped Pancetta till brown and crispy but not too dry, reserve the fat.

    Make the dressing for the potato salad by whisking together the sherry vinegar, mustard, honey, olive oil and reserved pancetta drippings.

    When the potatoes are done cooking to your liking, the best way to check is eat one!

    Slice them into coins while still warm and add dressing, this will allow the flavors to melt in.

    Add herbs and warm pancetta and check seasoning again to your liking. Let the salad stand in a warm place and serve with roasted pork or chicken. It will definitely warm up a chilly afternoon. We serve it on our bar menu with a Sonoma Duck breast schnitzel!

    I like the fact that the Chef used pancetta with the potato salad. It added a nice element without overpowering the salad. Pancetta is a salt cured pork belly seasoned and dry aged for over three months. It’s also known as Italian bacon. It’s widely produced from Italy and Spain. The dressing is not too heavy with lots of flavor and paired nicely with Thomas Fogarty Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition, the pancetta added some nice texture and flavors that brought it all together with the wine.

    The 2007 Thomas Fogarty Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountain, was a nice fit. Santa Cruz Mountain got it’s own AVA in 1981. They grow mostly Chardonnay, Pinot Noir followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Syrah, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Pinot Blanc, and Petite Syrah. The first vines were planted back in 1804. However, it wasn’t until the 1970’s when they started to grow them commercially. I like the Cabernets from this region. It’s not overly tannic and has nice structure that doesn’t overpower the food.

    The Fogarty Cabernet was aged in oak for 24 months and are from their low yielding vineyards. The less yield per acre the more intense the fruit. The Santa Cruz Mountains with its fertile soil, warm days and cool nights make this region an amazing place to grow grapes. This allows for a long growing season. The long hang-time allows the grapes to have more intensity and it shows in this beautiful Cabernet by Fogarty. I got blackberries, black currants with earthy undertones, soft tannins, with a nice long finish. It has a nice acid base and flowed very well. I like the balance of the wine.

    Carmel Valley Ranch recently emerged from a complete $40 million renovation. What a beautiful property. I had the privilege of sitting down withChef Tim at his restaurant enjoying the view. I like the way the tables were arranged to the pool to the layout of the bar and definitely the wine room. It gave the whole place a nice warm feeling. Carmel Valley Ranch is nestled in the heart of California’s most fertile growing region. The area’s rich history of wine growing and sustainable, organic farming is reflected in Chef Wood’s fresh, natural and seasonal menus. Fresh seafood comes directly from the waters of the Monterey Coast. Many of the fruits and vegetables featured in Chef’s dishes are grown at the Ranch’s on-site organic garden, literally picked walking distance from his kitchen.

    pancetta warm salad

    fogarty wineWhat began as a pastime is now the Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyard, one of the Santa Cruz Mountain’s most respected wineries. A Stanford Cardiovascular Surgeon and world-renowned inventor, Thomas Fogarty took up home winemaking in the early 1970’s in a small cabin on the current winery site. He planted his first grapes in 1978, and in 1981 established a commercial winery in the historic grape growing region of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Thomas, Jr. is running the show these days and is a promising young man. I’m sure he will take this to the next level. They produce both red and whites. In the reds, they have Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and some blends. In the whites, they produce a Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. That’s a very nice line-up. Please go visit their tasting room and try some of their wines. You will definitely have a great time. Go to www.fogartywinery.com for more information.