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In depth tour of vineyard in Santa Ynez region?

No one responded to my post, but in case there are others out there who would like this information, I want to share the name of a wonderful vineyard that we visited yesterday. We made an appointment with Roger and Hilarie of Harrison Clarke in Solvang. It was the highlight of our trip. Their small-production vineyard is located on a beautiful hillside with breathtaking views. Roger walked us around the vineyard, explaining the growing process in depth and answering any and all questions. Roger has a wonderful sense of humor, an obvious love for his work on the land, and could not have been more welcoming. Tasting the grapes was a real treat. We were also lucky enough to see hawks flying overhead, a large hare hopping through the vines, and the couple's small herd of cows running down the hillside. Once we had toured the vineyard, we went up to the barn that is their winemaking facility, where Hilarie works her magic. Hilarie took us into the barrel room for some barrel tastings - delicious! She explained her winemaking process, and then treated us to tastes of 4 or 5 of their wines. The vineyard makes Rhone-style red wines, although they have planted some white Viognier that will be ready in a few years. Their syrah was the best wine we tasted all weekend. Bottles are priced from about $18 to $52. This was an amazing, relaxing, informative, and fun experience, and I encourage anyone visiting the area to make an appointment with Roger and Hilarie.

http://harrisonclarkewine.com

Oct 17, 2011
yahtzeemm in California

In depth tour of vineyard in Santa Ynez region?

A group of 4 of us will be up in the Santa Ynez area for wine tasting over Oct 15 weekend. I had read wonderful things about the 3 hour tour/tasting at Clos Pepe, and we hoped to do it on Sunday. However, I contacted the vineyard and they happen to be closed that weekend. On Saturday we will be going to a number of vineyards' tasting rooms, but on Sunday we hoped to do something a little more in depth at a nice winery. Anyone know if there are other vineyards that offer an experience comparable to what Clos Pepe does? We probably aren't looking for one of those van tours of several vineyards. Thanks!

(And here is the Clos Pepe information, if anyone wants it for another weekend.)

http://www.clospepe.com/
An Invitation to Visit Clos Pepe

Note: Clos Pepe will no longer offer public tours after December, 2011. At that time, all appointments for tasting must be made through an existing list member. We are getting too many requests at this time to accomodate all tasters.

We do things a little different and a lot slower out here at Clos Pepe. No tasting room bar. We don't believe you can understand what we do here without spending a few hours with our vineyard manager, our winemaker, our sheep, our climate and our family. This is how they do it in the Old World--maybe two dozen people per week go through these tours, which is more meaningful to our business than turning and burning a thousand through a tasting room turnstile. Try it and see.

Sep 15, 2011
yahtzeemm in California

Best Sushi In LA?? Where??

I could not agree with you more, on the basic level that it is about rapport. That is why Sasabune failed. The chef would disappear immediately after handing me my piece, getting no feedback from me about what I liked or didn't, not seeing whether I was using chopsticks or hands (which should dictate how tightly the rice is packed), etc. At other sushi bars such as Zo, Mori, Sushi Sushi, Echigo, I have never had a problem with the chef recognizing very soon into my visit what I was up for. So it is not about mindreading, it is about a relationship which can and should begin to develop on a first visit. Sasabune didn't make any effort to do that.

Dec 23, 2008
yahtzeemm in Los Angeles Area

Best Sushi In LA?? Where??

I tried Mori once, and don't get me wrong, it was delicious, but I wasn't blown away the way I am every time at Zo and it was more expensive. For some variety, maybe I'll head back to Mori again though. When I can't hit Zo, I go to Sushi Sushi, which although nowhere near Zo/Mori, is very nice nigiri, always good fish quality and selection.

Dec 22, 2008
yahtzeemm in Los Angeles Area

Best steak to order at Mastro's (BH)?

I believe it was $32 or $34. It's delicious and probably has half a lobster in it, but still, that's quite a price! We were celebrating and so decided to splurge....

Dec 22, 2008
yahtzeemm in Los Angeles Area

Best Sushi In LA?? Where??

I don't understand why people who like real omakase sushi (e.g., Zo) like Sasabune. I just decided to give the place one more chance. It is no good. Perhaps I should have announced myself as a real sushi eater when I sat down, maybe they just saw a white American girl and assumed I wanted crap. Out of about 10 pieces of nigiri, four - count them, four - were tuna variations, including an "iced toro" whose inventor should be fired. The rest were also mundane - salmon, halibut, albacore, etc. The scallop was good, but that was because it was one of the very few pieces not to be oversauced. I eat sushi with my hands, not chopsticks, but still some of the pieces were falling apart right away because of too much sauce. There is no subtlety in the saucing. Oh, and did I mention that the fish was presliced??? I could not have been more disappointed - and that's the way I felt the last 2 times too, so now I'm saying goodbye to Sasabune. If you are a relative sushi novice who has recently made the jump from rolls to nigiri and you want to try some omakase, perhaps this place is for you. For true sushi purists, I just don't understand why anyone would like it.

Dec 22, 2008
yahtzeemm in Los Angeles Area

Best steak to order at Mastro's (BH)?

Thanks to those of you who replied, it was a big help. I'm reporting back on my dinner, which was AMAZING. First, the bread is fantastic, worth filling up a little on. I started with the oysters - they were good, I had expected fantastic based on what I'd read and I didn't think that was true, but they were very nice. The horseradish sauce really added to them, which was a new oyster experience for me. My boyfriend had the shrimp cocktail which was excellent. We shared the bone-in ribeye and the porterhouse. Next time, I would have one person get the bone-in ribeye and one the bone-in filet. The ribeye was unbelievable, fabulous flavor, blew my mind. The strip side of the porterhouse would have been excellent in any other setting, but I thought paled in comparison to the flavor of the ribeye and the tenderness of the filet. I was worried the filet part would be dull after the flavor of the ribeye, but it was amazing, the best filet I've ever tasted, so buttery and delicious. We ordered both medium rare +. For sides, we had the lobster mashed potatoes, which were fantastic, but probably only worth the exhorbitant price tag one time. My boyfriend wanted the mushroom side, it was good for what it was, not really my thing though. The service was impeccable, and they must have overheard us saying it was our anniversary b/c we didn't tell them, but at the end they brought out a chocolate cake dessert with writing that said "Happy Anniversary - Two Years." We were impressed. All in all, a great experience, I can still taste the steak four days later! Mmmmm.

Dec 21, 2008
yahtzeemm in Los Angeles Area

Best steak to order at Mastro's (BH)?

Thank you all, I will be dining on ribeye tonight! Appreciate the feedback.

Dec 17, 2008
yahtzeemm in Los Angeles Area

Best steak to order at Mastro's (BH)?

I'm going to Mastro's for dinner tonight, and I see a lot of posts about the bone-in on here, but also some about the filet mignon and porterhouse. I've never been to Mastro's before and would love some recommendations about their best cut. (Will be dining with another person, and we can share if the best cut is sized for two.) Many thanks. (PS. After all the raves, I'll be having some oysters to start!)

Dec 17, 2008
yahtzeemm in Los Angeles Area

Chinatown Dim Sum for Dinner?

I love dim sum for brunch, but am wondering if any good Chinatown restaurants also serve dim sum for dinner? (Yes, specifically Chinatown, for this dinner, at least.) Thanks.

Dec 06, 2008
yahtzeemm in Los Angeles Area