Friday, December 16, 2016

California Dinner (Celebrating Cheese)

It always takes me forever to post our own dinner party, especially if we lost the wine competition... which we did :(  But it was still a blast! Joe and I had been gone for a month down in Puerto Escondido (check out my travel blog:, and our dinner was scheduled for the Friday after we got home. Less than a week! So that's my excuse for making my fall-back spaghetti. I called for Zinfandel.

Cheese Drizzled with Olive Oil
Black Finger-Olives
Crunchy Parmesan Wafers
Marcona Almonds & Dates

First Course:
Caprese Salad

Main Course:
Roasted Carrots,
Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs,
Olive Cheese Bread

New York Style Cheesecake with Kona/Caramel Sauce and Berries

Wine competition:
Wades 1st place with Opolo, Mountain Zin, 2014 (Paso Robles)
Gilberts 2nd with Dobra Zemla, Zin, 2014 (Amador)
Shetlers 3rd with the prettiest bottle of Poizin, Zin 2013 (Sonoma)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Visit to Peru at the Shetler's

I just don't know how these people do it? Mark had a procedure to his shoulder the week of their dinner party, yet he still managed to prepare a feast (with a lot of help from Melissa of course). She'd given him a Peruvian cookbook for a present, so there ya go... he made a Peruvian dinner. Naturally that called for a Cabernet Sauvignon from South America :)

This time we did something a little different. We brought our house-guests from Italy, Gianluca and Egle. We don't usually have additional guests at our parties, and this is the first time we invited them to compete... they came in second place!!!

We started with Chilcanos:
Chilcano de Pisco and Sauvignon Blanc (no photo)

Then we had three different types of Ceviche:
Ceviche Clasico
Ceviche de Mango
Ceviche de Champinones

Then an Aperitivo:
Pastel de Chocio

Plato Principal:
Papas Rellenas
Pechugas de Pollo con Salsa de Quinua
Ensalada de Vegetales

Alfajor Clasico con Dulce de Leche
Helado de Canela y Coco

1st - Cruz Alta 2012, Argentina (Wades)
2nd - Medalla Real 2012, Chile (Fersinis)
3rd - de Gras 2013, Chile (Gilberts)
4th - Mascota Vineyards 2013, Argentina (Shetlers)

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Texas BBQ at the Wade's

My mouth was watering in anticipation of this one, and I wasn't disappointed. But first we had to be properly welcomed to the Wade Family Ranch by their 4 year old granddaughter, Mina. She had us sign in on her Frozen magnetic drawing board, then she escorted us outside to the "dining area."

They had called for a Red Wine Blend so I dragged one from the cellar from the cabin :)

Rustic Cheese Board with Assorted Crackers
Texas Sweet Tea (This was a cool idea of putting the tea in mason jars with the lids on, in a bucket of ice... clever)
DWs Texas Smoked Brisket
Mom's Potato Salad
Southern Coleslaw with Granny Smith Apples
Mom's Best Baked Beans
Sweet Corn Bread
Sloughhouse Corn-on-the-Cob
Ol' Fashioned Peach Cobbler A La Mode with Haagen Daz Vanilla Ice Cream

The Shetler's won with a bottle of One Armed Man  The Wades came in second with their favorite wine, Stephanie. We trailed in last with Hatcher Meritage. That tells you how good the wine was if a Hatcher came in last!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gilbert's Garden Party

We’ve been working feverishly on our backyard garden for months. We let it die during the drought and decided to create a happy space for us to sit and visit. This dinner party was a celebration of the (almost) finished product.
We started with cheese from Carmel-by-the-Sea, crackers, grapes, nectarines, and this really cool bread-cake thing made out of figs and nuts, and we opened a lovely Sobon Estate, 2013 Tannat for pre-competition.
The next appetizer was bite-size chunks of barbecued tri-tip
Dinner was a potato bar with big fat Russets (chives, maple bacon, shredded cheese, butter and sour cream)
And barbecued ribs and chicken thighs to go with the potato
Dessert was a slice of New York style cheesecake surrounded with seasonal raspberries and blackberries

I called for a petite verdot, but it was too difficult for them so I settled for a blend with petite verdot. Sadly the strength of one of the blends arm-wrestled and won, but we came in second! The Pessimist, 2013 red blend out of Paso Robles from the Wade’s came in first, our Modus Operandi, (one of my favorite wineries) 2012 petite verdot came in second, and the Shetler’s Justin, 2013 red wine out of Paso Robles came in third. They were all super yummy. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Shetler's House/ Trader Joe's Menu

Mark got a recipe book:
I Love Trader Joe’s. So the menu is based on that!

Maque Choux Cakes (Shrimp cakes with a bit of spice)
Gorgonzola Stuffed Crimini Mushrooms (I ate so many of these little guys, I could barely eat dinner)
Marcona Almonds

Stuffed Sub Sandwich with Vodka Sauce
Mustard-Crusted Potatoes
Cucumber, Red Onion, and Kidney Bean Salad


Torta Della Nonna

The Shetler's requested a bottle of wine from Trader Joe's under $20.00. We picked an Argentinian Malbec called 1, The Wades brought a 14 Hands red blend, and the Shetler's entered a cuvee red blend from E Cellars. The Wades won.

Gilbert's house for Cuban food

First let me say I'm sorry for getting so behind on blogging! Just so you know we never got behind on feasting, just on telling you about it :) The Wade's were scheduled after ours, but life got in the way, so we met downtown and did a pub crawl. It was more befitting our mood at the time :)

With the help from a Cuban friend from work I attempted a traditional Christmas meal (from before communism forbade the celebration of Christmas).


Pasta de Guayaba con Queso y Galletas
(Guayaba is a fruit made into a paste with cheese on crackers. I chose jack cheese after some research)
Platanos Maduros
(These are overly ripe/black plantain bananas fried to golden crisp. They are sweet)
Tostones y Mojo
(Yum... mojo! Mojo is very special to Cubans and many other Latin/Caribbean countries. It is made with a lot of garlic, olive oil, spices, and sour orange juice. If you can't hunt down the sour oranges, use equal parts lime and orange. Tostones are green or yellow plantains that are smashed and fried and smashed some more.)


Platanos Hervidos
(boiled green regular bananas with butter. Tastes a little like sweet potatoes)
Moros y Cristianos
(Rice and black beans, or Moors and Christians)
Pierna Asada a la Cubana con Mojo Salsa
(This is basically baked pork butt with mojo ingredients and orange halves in the pan with a little bowl of mojo to dunk the meat in.)


Tarte de Limón (from Whole Foods)


We requested them to bring a bottle of red wine that would pair well with Cuban food. The wines were very different from each other... which was a problem. We tend to vote for the wine which best suits our palate, nt the best of a particular varietal. The grenache imported from France won the night.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Shetler’s House, Mexican-Italian Fusion

I was pretty excited about this party when I heard it would be Mexican and Italian food and a Super Tuscan tasting! I wasn't disappointed.

Lemon Basil Guacamole on Crostini
Sundried Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella and Parmesan Quesadillas with Italian Salsa Verde
Refried Cannellini Beans with Blue Corn Chips
Italian Sausage Stuffed Anaheim Chiles

Tortilla Wedding Soup

Main Course
Carne Asada Lasagna
Chicken Mole Penne
Italian Squash with Cilantro Sauce

Panettone Tres Leches with Cajeta Mascarpone Cream

Super Tuscan Wine
First Place:  Wade’s Luce 2007, Toscana. Started off good with balanced spice. Maintained its flavor and complexity to the end.

Second: Shetler’s Regina Di Renieri, Toscana. Started off bold and was my favorite. It softened considerably with decanting and slid into second place by the end of the meal.

Third: Gilberts Le Difese, 2013, Toscana. Started off soft and smooth with delicate notes of berry. Lost all structure and immediately became flavorless.