Wednesday, September 15, 2010


It's time again for our our only sale of the year in our Garden & Home store. For two weeks only we'll have amazing prices on some of your favorite items. Beautiful handmade Italian pottery from Fortunata and Vietri at up to 50% off. Garden ornaments and topiary planters. Our entire assortment of Annie Glass at 40% off. All patio candles and assorted candlesticks at deep discounts. Stop in a see what other surprises we might have in store.

New for this year, we're also offering exclusive web only specials. If you can't make it in to the store, you can still find some amazing mark-downs only available on our web site.

Thursday, September16 - Thursday, September 30 only.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Julia Knight Signing Event

Julia Knight new designs and colors have just arrived for Fall. Julia’s beautiful serveware makes the perfect gift for any occasion... Birthdays, Anniversaries, Weddings and Hostess Gifts. Julia will be in our store to personalize your purchases of her new designs.

If you haven't seen Julia's line, it's really special. All the serving pieces are handmade cast metal. The interiors are enamel mixed with crushed mother of pearl. The colors span the rainbow. This past spring she came out with a line of glassware blown in Italy, shot with Murano color and flecks of silver. New for this Fall will be her new line of glass serving pieces. We can't wait to get them in.

Come meet Julia and hear her share her story of entertaining. She'll be in the store October 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. We'll have champagne and hors d'oeuvres. There will also be a gift with purchase. Receive a 6" Petite Cake Stand in Shrimp ($48 retail) with the purchase of $150 or more of Julia Knight product, receive a 10" Cake Stand in Shrimp ($88 retail) with the purchase of $300 or more of Julia Knight product and receive a 14" Cake Stand in Shrimp ($165 retail) with the purchase of $500 or more of Julia Knight product. The shrimp color is probably the most versatile color next to Buttercream. These cakestands will make a great addition to any table.

Unable to make it the day of the event? Just call or stop in anytime before
the event to make your selections. We will have Julia sign them for you.

Check back for more photos and updated information.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Table & Pantry/Laguna Gourmet 1st Anniversary Sale

It's hard to believe, but our Table & Pantry store is one year old! In celebration, we're having an amazing sale starting Saturday, May 22. The sale will run through Memorial Day, Monday, May 31.

Every piece of cookware in the store will be reduced 50%. We can't name the brands, but if you've been to the store you know they're the best on the market.
All our dinnerware will be reduced at least 20% with some as much as 50% off. We'll have reductions on our already low wine prices. There are sale prices throughout the store. Bargains abound.
We want to thank everyone for an amazing year and look forward to seeing you in the coming week. For those following our Paso Robles trip, we'll get back to the rest of our story in a few days.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Paso Robles food and wine tour - Day Two, Part One

Day two of our Paso Robles trip started with breakfast at the diner right near our hotel. The hotel provided a $5 off coupon. Unfortunately that was the best thing about it. At least we had a good deal of fat in our system to protect our stomachs from all the wine we’d be tasting that day. When we headed off, the whole valley was covered in fog. We headed East to check out the lay of the land.

After a short drive, we headed back to the West to our first appointment at Adelaida Cellars. Adelaida is one of our favorite wineries. We discovered their wines many years ago when the daughter of the winery owners worked at Frank’s sister-in-law’s medical practice. We would get yearly shipments from the winery every holiday. When we opened the gourmet shop last year, Adelaida was one of the first wineries we contacted to include in our selection at the store. We carry most of the wines they produce (Chardonnay, Syrah, Version Red, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon) so there wasn’t that much new to taste. We really just wanted to meet the winemakers and explore the vineyards. Not to say we didn’t taste. After all, we’ve not been know to turn down a glass or two of premium wine. Plus we would have the opportunity to taste some wines that aren’t available to the general public. We were met by Paul Sowerby who started us off with their new Rose, a Vin Gris de Pinot Noir. The wine is made in a "saignee" style, the fresh juice was drawn off the skins after a short 24 hours and then fermented in barrels following the traditional white wine regime. It delivers gorgeous pinot noir fruit character. Bright reds and salmon colors lead to a bouquet of mineral tinged wild strawberry fruitiness. We're trying to bring this wine into the store, but production is so small that most is already presold to wine club members. Next up were a couple of Rhone style whites, the Version White, a blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, and their Pavanne, a blend of four major white Rhone varieties. The Version White, Adelaida's signature white Rhone blend, delights the senses with honeysuckle, cumquat, and spring flowers. There is minerallity mid-pallette and a crisp apple finish. Our preference was the Pavanne, a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, and Viogner. Starting with the rich texture and honeyed aromatics of Roussanne. The wine gains further complexity from the green pear minerality of Marsanne, the appley acidity of Grenache Blanc and the peachy richness of Viognier. Combining fruit from two Paso Robles' neighboring Westside properties, Glenrose and Halter Ranch, Pavanne captures a flavor purity from mountain elevation and the ever-present limestone chalky soils. From the winerey's notes: "An aromatic mélange of mandarin orange, musk melon and lime intermingle in this refreshing and brisk all season white. A virtual cornucopia of tropical fruits, Pavanne contrasts ripe quince and kiwifruit with tart flavors of tamarind and prickly pear. Named for a medieval dance, 2008 Pavanne is a virtual fruit crossword puzzle, perfect for sipping with a good book or impromptu gatherings when an interesting bottle keeps your friends guessing". We hope to have this wine in the store in the next few weeks, selling at around $22 per bottle. Next up were several single vineyard Syrahs. These aren't available for the store, so we won't go into too much detail. The nice thing was we got to take our glasses with us as we went on a tour of the vineyards. This is a beautiful property. The vineyards are at 1700'. The terrain reminded us of the mountainous region around Badia a Coltibouno in Chianti, combining several hundred acres of vineyards with walnut groves amid miles of rolling hills and oaks. After a great tour and an immensely informative morning, we made our way a few miles down the road to Carmody-McKnight Vineyards. This is a small vineyard specializing in handcrafted wines. We were met by Paul's brother Neal who let us sample some interesting tastes, but probably nothing we'll carry in the shop. From there we literally drove next door to Justin Vineyard and Winery. Paul and Neal's buddy from England, Glen, made sure we were well taken care of. Justin was in the process of switching over several of their vintages, so they were tasting some unusual offerings along with a couple of favorites. We zipped through the whites, first the Sauvignon Blanc, heavy in citrus and perfect for warm days by the pool or on the beach; the Viognier, refreshing without the cloying floral of many Viogniers; and finally the Chardonnay, notes of pear, apricot and stone fruit ending in a creamy honey finish. We took a break from the tasting room for a wild mushroom pizza served out on the grounds. (The tasting room doesn't allow food inside - aromas can interfere with the wines. On weekends the dining room is open. They also have a cold case with prepared snacks, meats, and cheeses). After our break we headed back inside for some reds. First up, their Tempranillo. beginning with a complex nose of mushroom, leather, and spice, opening to flavors of black cherry and raspberry in a refined classic Rioja style. Next was their Orphan. While we really enjoyed this wine, there's no need to discuss as it's only available at the winery. No matter how hard you try, you're hard pressed to find it anywhere else. This is the wine made from all the leftover grapes from the season. Always interesting, each vintage is unique. They're already sold out of the 2007 Cabernet at the winery and they're just bottling the 2008. When it's released, we'll have the 2008 Cabernet in the store. The last red was the 2007 Isosceles, Justin's premier wine. The nose is variable over a several minute review: black and blue fruit, firm but inviting oak notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a sense of just-roasted dark-roast coffee beans. Later, a note of dark cocoa; a dash of black pepper; a drop of vanilla. The palate reveals an immensely flavored wine, repeating the black fruit intensity and powerful tannins typical of this brilliant vintage. The finish is stately, regal, long. We can't wait to have this stellar selection in the store. We'll let you know when it arrives. We finished off with Deborah's Delight, a truly delightful dessert wine, a blend of Orange Muscat and Viognier producing a clean, sweet, wine that has beautiful floral and stone fruit aromatics. After this we were ready for a break. Putting the top down, we wound our way through the hills back to town. We'll be back soon to recap afternoon wine and snacks and more from Il Cortile.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Paso Robles food and wine tour

Due to a happy quirk in scheduling, we had a few days off last week. On a whim, we headed north to Paso Robles.

Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Paso Robles is a wine growing area in the Central Coast Region of California. The landscape is simply stunning. There are rolling hills dotted with oaks, an occasional olive grove, walnuts & almonds, and abounding vineyards just starting to leaf. The winter rains have produced the most verdant hillsides we’ve seen. Coupled with brilliant blue skies, the setting took our breath away. You get a touch of the Piedmonte, a bit of Burgundy, and a little of the Rhone Valley if it wound through Tuscany.

When we weren’t meeting with winemakers, we were sampling some amazing restaurants. Here goes with the first of several food reports. We’ll get to the wine in a few days.

On the drive up we stopped in Santa Barbara for an amazing lunch at La Super-Rica Tacqueria, the well-known taco stand that was a favorite of Julia Child. We sampled tacos of house-made chorizo and adobado (marinated pork) in handmade tortillas. The highlight was the special of the day was a Chile Relleno in a marvelous cream sauce (and a few extra of those amazing tortillas to sop up the sauce). Fortunately the line wasn’t too long and we were able to eat and get back on the road fairly quickly. Wine country was calling.

Most of the restaurants in Paso Robles are on or near the town square, a charming tree-lined park surrounded by historic buildings. The first place we tried was Villa Creek. They have a great reputation and some stellar reviews. Even though we didn’t plan on a lengthy sit-down dinner we wanted to give the restaurant a try. The bar and patio were packed but we were able to squeeze into the last two seats. We started with the Shepherd’s Plate, a selection of cheese, house-made grilled sausage with a horseradish mustard cream, olives, and marcona almonds. Our waitress asked if we had seen the taco menu. This turned out to be the source of the huge crowd: Taco Tuesday. They featured a selection of tacos, all at $2.50 a pop. Even though we were looking for more wine-friendly fare and had had a few great tacos for lunch, we felt we couldn’t leave without at least trying a couple. While they won’t put La Super-Rica to shame, the grilled shrimp, carne asada, and carnitas were all great. The shrimp was a standout. We’ll definitely return for a more complete dinner on our next visit. After this eclectic assortment we were ready for a stroll and on to our next destination: Il Cortile.

Il Cortile ...
is a new Italian restaurant in Paso, featuring some of the best Italian this side of the Atlantic. Chef Santos MacDonal is in the kitchen and his wife Carole runs the front of the house. The pastas are made fresh and daily specials are based on what’s available from the farmer’s market. The wine list combines selections from Italy with local wines from the Central Coast. You enter down a long exterior corridor that passes by an intimate, partially-enclosed, courtyard (hence the name Il Cortile). There's a small bar just inside the door. The dining room is paneled in warm wood, with a banquette along one wall. Eight to ten tables are laid out over the seating area. A large window looks our from the kitchen. Since we were just going to share a couple of smaller plates we chose to once again sit at the bar. We started with the housemade gnocchi with a gongonzola cream sauce and fresh arugula. The gnocchi were like little pillows and had the texture of clouds. We've made our own gnocchi many times and rarely has restaurant gnocchi approached our own. This very nearly surpassed it. The sauce was delicate with cream smoothing out the gorgonzola. The arugula added a bit of pepper and nicely balanced the creaminess of the sauce. Our Sangiovese from Pianetta paired perfectly. One of the most interesting stops on the exceptional menu is the Mozzarella section - 5 appetizers all with fresh burrata. We chose the Crostini con Burrata, toasted bread points topped with burrata, caramelized onion, and pancetta. The sweet, buttery, and salty all working together for a great - if slightly out of sequence - finish to a great day of eating.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's our own March Madness

It looks like we've gone a little crazy this month. We've reduced the price on over 80% of our stock. We're making way for new vintages and clearing out wines where we only have a couple of bottles. Buy one bottle at full price and the second bottle is 1/2 off! If you shop our store regularly, you know that our wine prices are competitive with the big box stores. Here's your opportunity to stock up and fill your cellar. Unlike other stores that bring in value priced wines to put on sale, we are offering only the high quality wines from our regular inventory. You'll find amazing deals in all price ranges, from Opus One at the unheard of price on the 2nd bottle for $95, to our Five Buck Frank - buy the first at $5 and the second is only $2.50. Quantities are limited and discounts are only available on current inventory.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ribs and Rose'

Here's an easy recipe for Frank's famous ribs that evokes Summer Barbeques, but simply bakes in your oven. We're pairing it with a crisp Rosé that cuts the spice and complements the sweetness of the sauce.

Start with 2 full slabs of Baby Back Ribs. Remove the thin membrane from the back. (Grab one end with a paper towel and just pull. The membrane should come off in a single sheet.). Rub liberally and thoroughly with your favorite spice rub. We use Stonewall Kitchens Kansas City Rub. Let sit in the refrigerator for 2 -4 hours. Meanwhile thinly slice 2 yellow onions. Spread on the bottom of a sheet pan. Preheat oven to 225°. Remove ribs from refrigerator and place on top of bed of onions. Cover tightly with foil and place in oven. Bake for 4 hours. Remove from oven. Remove ribs from pan and set aside. Drain juices and onions into the bowl of a VitaMix or Food Processor. Put ribs back into pan, covered and set aside. Increase oven temperature to 350°.

To make sauce, add to a sauce pan:

Pureed juices and onions from ribs
1 28oz can Tomato Puree
1 small jar or can Tomato Paste
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Bourbon
4 dashes Worchestershire Sauce
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tbl Red Wine Vinegar (we use Sparrow Lane Zinfandel)
Cook over medium heat until thick.
Add your choice of hot sauce to taste.

Uncover ribs, brush liberally with sauce and place uncovered in 350° oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with remaining sauce on the side.

If you're in a hurry, feel free to use your own bottled sauce. Always look for a sauce with natural ingredients. One of the best is Julie Johnson's "¿Porque No?". A cofounder of Frog’s Leap winery, Johnson started her Tres Sabores label several years ago using Zinfandel grapes from her ranch. But just as she was starting out, the warehouse in which she stored her bottles burned to the ground. She lost everything: more than 2,000 cases of wine. After the fire, Johnson sat among her ruined bottles, crying as she drank. Then she had an idea: Recycle the superheated wine as barbecue sauce! She called her creation "¿Porque No?" The sauce is a zesty blend of ingredients with fruity notes from pomegranates, persimmons, cherries and Meyer lemons. It also has a tantalizing smokiness - not just from the fire wine (there is almost three-fourths of a bottle of Zinfandel in each bottle of sauce), but from Washington State sea salt that has been smoked over Chardonnay barrels.

The ribs pair wonderfully with a crisp Rose'. Our pick is from Robert Oatley. Robert Oatley Rosé of Sangiovese is a distinctively bright, modern style – dry and a little savory, with mouth-filling red fruit flavors and a crisp refreshing finish. However, if you've decided to try Julie Johnson's "¿Porque No?" then by all means try her Zinfandel as well!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Spring is just around the corner

It's hard to believe while watching the cold wave pushing into the deep south, but Spring will be here before long. We're already getting ready here at the beach. At the store, the decorations are down, we've shed our winter coat, and we'll be in full bloom in the next couple of weeks.

We're very excited about a new line of small garden pottery from Vietri. Yes, good things come in small packages! Perfect for a windowsill or patio, each piece is dripping in luscious glazes with a hand aged patina. We have chosen classic colors with authentic Italian touches to add a sense of nature in any home. These pieces start under $30.

We're also looking forward to some great new introductions from Michael Aram. He's producing 2 new lines this Spring, one for kitchen and one for patio. The kitchen line will have canisters and serving pieces in a mixture of Fruit, Olive Branch, and Pomegranates. The patio line will be perfect for outdoor entertaining, featuring multiple pieces in the Fig Leaf pattern. All the images are under wraps until the lines are formally launched, but we'll be posting photos and giving our customers a preview as soon as we can.

If you're not here with us in Southern California, stay bundled up. The snow and ice will melt and your gardens will be in full bloom before you know it.

We're back!

Welcome back. It's nice to see you. If you've been here before you know this blog originally originated from our Laguna Beach boutiq...