Ventura Restaurant Week 2017: Our Visit to Paradise Pantry and Cork

img_1427

January is Restaurant month in California promoting “culinary travel”. As Jan 20-29 is Restaurant Week for the cities of Ventura and Oxnard in Ventura County, California, on Tuesday Jan. 24, Que Syrah Sue and I decided to hit up two of them: tried and true Paradise Pantry in downtown Ventura by the San Buenaventura Mission and the brand new Cork located on Main and Santa Cruz in midtown Ventura, both offering $20 dine and wine deals. Find other Restaurant Weeks in California here.

Paradise Pantry

We arrived at Paradise Pantry before 5pm on a Tuesday, but they had a decent crowd already there because Paradise Pantry’s small bites, wines by the glass, and wine flights lends itself to every thing from a very late lunch to happy hour to an early dinner to a light dinner to a snack and a chat with a friend.

The small, narrow venue is warm and inviting with a small bar in the back, a seating area by the window with informal, comfy seating, and two tables by the other windows so you can see out to Main Street and the Mission. Small tables can be combined to accommodate larger groups. Bright artwork decorates the original brick walls. Through a wide doorway, you can access the retail shop with two large cold cases for cheese and pate, plus tightly packed rows of bottles with an emphasis on local but also including carefully curated representatives from around the world.

img_1417

For Restaurant Week’s $20 deal, Paradise Pantry is offering Continue reading

New Year, New Wine, New Jersey? New Region, New Grapes #WinePW

img_1234

Have you ever tasted wine from New Jersey?

img_1247

What about Ugni Blanc? Have you ever tasted a wine made with that grape?

For this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend challenge “New Year, New Wine,” Que Syrah Sue and I decided to taste a wine from a new region — New Jersey!– and to taste a wine from grapes that we didn’t think we’d had before. We considered trying a new recipe too but instead decided to explore new Welsh Cheddars along with a menu of favorites. Continue reading

Sicily’s Global and Coastal Influences: 5 Dishes Paired with 3 Nero D’Avola

img_1199

When we heard that the Italian Wine Food and Travel group was going to focus on Italy’s coastline, Sue and I immediately thought of Sicily! Not only is this an island region of Italy with 900 miles of coastline, it’s home to two of our favorite, affordable finds of 2016, Nero  D’Avola, a red wine, and Grillo, white wine.

900 miles is a lot of coastline in a country with a lot of coastline!

Continue reading